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2008年12月 8日 (月)

タクシー再規制 適正化に業界は自ら汗をかけ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 8, 2008)

Taxi industry must work toward optimal balance

タクシー再規制 適正化に業界は自ら汗をかけ(128日付・読売社説)

Due to the sharp increase in the number of cabs sparked by the 2002 deregulation of the taxi industry, various problems have arisen. However, excessively regulating the industry again will not benefit customers.

That may be the idea behind the decision the government reached.

 規制緩和でタクシーが増えすぎ、様々な問題を生じさせているが、過度の規制復活は利用者のためにならない。そう考えた末の結論だろう。

The Construction and Transport Ministry recently compiled a package on reregulating the taxi industry. In areas where taxi companies may go down together due to the increased number of cabs, the package stipulates creation of a system for companies to jointly reduce the number of vehicles they put on the street, taking the local companies' intentions into consideration.

 国土交通省がタクシーの再規制策をまとめた。台数増で業界が共倒れしそうな地域では、地元の意向を踏まえ、共同で車を減らせる新たな仕組みを作る。

The government intends to submit a bill to the next ordinary Diet session to be convened in January to put the policy into effect in 2010.

 次期通常国会に新法を提出し、2010年に実施する方針だ。

Customers are now avoiding using taxies more than before due to the business slump, steadily reducing the income of cab drivers who work on commission. There are many accidents involving taxis that are the result of drivers rushing to get as many customers as possible. Securing safety of customers also will become more difficult. Therefore, it is unavoidable to cut the number of taxis through the reregulation plan.

 景気後退でタクシーの客足はさらに遠のき、完全歩合制の運転手の収入は減る一方だ。1人でも多くの客を乗せようと焦った末の事故も多く、このままでは利用者の安全確保も危ぶまれる。再規制で台数を絞るのはやむを得まい。

The idea of reducing the number of taxis draws on precedents seen in the textile industry and other sectors in which rival firms have cooperatively closed surplus facilities or destroyed unnecessary machines.

 新たな減車の仕組みは、繊維産業などが共同で過剰設備を廃棄した仕組みを参考にしている。

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Normalization expected

Under the system, the government will designate areas where it judges there are too many cabs and a council will be formed with representatives from taxi industry management and labor and from local governments to formulate a comprehensive program to boost demand and improve the employment situation of drivers in each area, among other things.

 まず、問題が生じている地域を国が「特定地域」に指定する。

 指定地域では、業界の労使代表や自治体などでつくる協議会が、タクシーの需要回復策や、運転手の待遇改善策などを盛り込んだ総合計画を作る。

If the council deems it necessary, taxi companies in the designated area will jointly apply to the government to reduce the number of taxis in the area. After listening to the opinions of the Fair Trade Commission, the ministry will promote a policy to reduce the number of taxis in the area at a pace that will not hamper the competition among the companies.

 協議会が必要と判断すれば、域内のタクシー会社が国に一斉に減車を申請する。国交省は公正取引委員会の意見も聞き、競争を妨げない範囲で減車を進める。

There has not previously been a system to reduce the number of cabs once it had increased. Creation of the joint reduction system will contribute to getting the industry back to normal.

 これまで、増えた車を減らす仕組みはなかった。共同減車の制度ができることは、業界の正常化に役立つだろう。

Initially, the taxi industry was asking the government to create a system to force companies to reduce the number of taxis they operate. However, an increase in dependence on the government will run counter to the current of deregulation.

 業界は当初、国が減車を強制する仕組みなどを求めていた。だが、国への依存を高めることは、規制緩和の流れに逆行しよう。

The taxi industry itself has to take responsibility for the excessive number of cabs on the road as they continued to increase the number of vehicles without considering the consequences in an attempt to win customers in their highly competitive business. It is natural for the industry to listen to local governments and customers and to work hard to optimize the number of vehicles under the supervision by the FTC.

 供給過剰の責任は、不毛な増車合戦で客の奪い合いを続けた業界にもある。業界が地域や利用者の声を聞き、公取委の監視下で適正化に汗をかくのは当然だ。

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Permanent measure necessary

The proposed system is merely a temporary measure. When the number of taxis is optimized and the problems are solved in an area, the special designation will be lifted. There may come a time when rival firms will again compete to increase the number of vehicles and another regulation to reduce the number of cabs will be necessary.

 今回の仕組みは、あくまで一時的な措置だ。台数が適正化されて弊害が消えれば、特定地域の指定も外される。そうなれば増車競争が復活しかねず、再び増車規制をかけざるを得なくなる。

To prevent such a situation, the government must consider some permanent measure that would allow companies to compete while controlling the increase in the number of vehicles, such as deciding the number of taxis to operate in a certain area through periodic bidding among cab companies. If the income obtained from such bidding is used to improve cab stands, for instance, it may breathe new life into the industry.

 そうならないよう、恒久的な対策も考えておくべきだ。

 地域内で営業するタクシーの台数を、定期的な入札制で決めるなど、増車を制限しながら、競争させる手立てはあるはずだ。入札で得た収入は乗り場の整備などに充てれば、業界の活性化にもつながるのではないか。

If the process of optimization is lead by local governments and the taxi companies operating in a designated area, it may be a good idea to shift the authority to allow changes in taxi fares from the central government to local governments. By so doing, the administration of the taxi industry will evolve from a symbol of deregulation into a symbol of decentralization.

 地域主導で適正化を図るなら、運賃などの許認可権を国から地方に移してはどうか。タクシー行政が「規制緩和の象徴」から「地方分権の象徴」になる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 8, 2008)

20081280141  読売新聞)

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