The Turtle Taxi is a new kind of taxi service that has recently been launched in Yokohama. The cabs bring passengers from A to B like any other taxi service, but they don’t necessarily do it as quickly as possible.
In general, cab drivers consider it their duty to bring customers to their destination as fast as they can, with little respect for traffic rules, other road users, and the environment. However, the people behind Turtle Taxi found out that many people that use cabs are not necessarily in a hurry. Turtle Taxi lets commuters choose whether or not they want the driver to speed up through a Yukkuri button on the back of the driver’s seat. If passengers aren’t in a rush they can press the button to let the driver know he can slow down, which is obviously safer and friendlier for the environment. They don’t have to keep the engine running at red lights, they can accelerate more gradually, and they don’t have to drive max speed on the fast lane. It also offers commuters a less stressful ride, which gives them time to look outside the window and experience the city in a pleasant way.
Although the idea seems a bit odd, the scheme turns out to be surprisingly popular among Japanese users. According to Sanwa Kotsu Group, the company that runs the Turtle Taxi, the introduction of the concept has led to a 15% increase in the number of people requesting a slow ride. Predominantly older people, pregnant women, and people with sleeping babies say to choose for Turtle cabs as they drive much smoother, and therefore more pleasant. Because the experiment has been successful, Sanwa Kotsu looks to launch the Turtle Taxi’s in the city centers of Kanagawa and Saitama as well.