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2013年12月 5日 (木)

タクシー減車法 顧客重視の競争を忘れずに

The Yomiuri Shimbun December 3, 2013
Law to reduce taxis must not hamper competition, services
タクシー減車法 顧客重視の競争を忘れずに(12月2日付・読売社説)

The toughening of regulatory measures for the taxi industry could hinder fair competition among operators and adversely affect services for users. We are concerned about the negative impact that may result from a revision of the law regulating the industry.
 タクシー規制強化が公正な競争を損ない、利用客に不利益をもたらさないか。法改正による悪影響が心配だ。

A bill, jointly sponsored by the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan and aimed at “normalizing and reinvigorating the taxi industry,” was recently enacted. The revised law is aimed at designating “special areas,” such as central Tokyo and the downtown areas of other major cities, that will be subject to mandatory taxi reductions because the number of cabs is regarded as excessive.
 自民、公明、民主の3党が提出していた「タクシー適正化・活性化改正法」が成立した。都心部や地方の大都市などタクシーの台数が多すぎる地域を「特定地域」に指定し、減車を義務づけるのが目的だ。

New entries into the taxi industry and fleet expansions will be prohibited for a certain period under the law in the special areas.
 特定地域では、新規参入や増車を一定期間禁じる。

A council comprising taxicab operators, the municipal government concerned and other entities in each special area is to formulate plans aimed at reducing taxi fleets and restricting business hours. The legislation empowers the government to issue orders to carriers, including owner-driver taxis, that fail to comply with these plans.
地域内の業者や自治体などで構成する協議会が、減車や営業時間を制限する計画を作成する。個人タクシーを含めて従わない場合には、政府が命令を出せる。

The revised law also has introduced a system to set permissible ranges of fares by areas, enabling the government to order noncompliant carriers to change their fares.
 地域ごとに運賃幅を設定し、守らない業者には、政府が料金の変更を命じることができる仕組みも導入した。

The tough restrictions on competition and setting the bar high for new entrants into the taxi business appear to be in response to appeals from existing taxicab companies.
 競争を厳しく制限し、タクシー業界への新規参入のハードルを高くするのは、既存業者から強い要請を受けたからだろう。

The taxi industry was liberalized in 2002 to allow new entries in the field, but a law enacted in 2009 called on taxi operators to voluntarily reduce their fleets on the ground that the soaring number of taxis had resulted in excessive competition. Some companies, however, failed to reduce their fleets as the law had no binding power.
 タクシーの新規参入は2002年に原則自由化されたが、台数が増えて過当競争を招いたとして、自主的な減車を促す法律が09年に施行された。強制力がないため減車に協力しない会社もある。

Self-help efforts essential

The LDP, Komeito and DPJ argued that unless fleets were reduced drastically, cutthroat competition among taxi firms would intensify, leading to a drop in income for taxi drivers because they work on a commission basis and a continuation of long work hours.
Improving working conditions of taxi drivers should be urgently addressed, as their work hours are significantly longer and their wages lower compared to workers in other industries.
 もちろん、他産業に比べて一般的に労働時間が長く、収入も低いタクシー運転手の労働環境の改善は重要な問題である。

Working conditions could be improved primarily through taxi companies’ efforts to boost profits through cost-cutting measures.
タクシー業者が、コスト削減などの経営努力によって収益を伸ばし、運転手の待遇見直しを図るのが基本だ。

We fear the tougher regulations in the revised law will not lead to a reduction in taxi fares, and the possibility of a deterioration in services could produce an adverse reaction from users.
 台数をより厳しく制限しなければ、競争が過熱し、歩合制を基本とするタクシー運転手の収入減や長時間労働に歯止めがかからないというのが、3党の主張だ。

If the taxi industry became solely dependent on the regulatory measures and became less competitive, potential passengers may be inclined to shy away from using taxis, aggravating the business performance of taxi operators even further.
 今回の規制強化で料金が高止まりし、サービスが低下すると利用客の反発を招く恐れがある。
 規制に頼るだけで競争を怠るようになれば、顧客離れが進み、かえって経営が悪化しかねない。

In putting the law into practice, the government should bear in mind the need to handle matters carefully through such means as reducing the list of competition-restricting “special areas.”
 競争を制限する特定地域をできるだけ絞り込むなど、政府は慎重な運用を心がけるべきだろう。

It is also extremely important to carefully determine whether taxi fleets are excessively competing in certain areas.
 台数が過剰かどうかなどを判断するための基準作りも課題である。

By laying down objective and intelligible criteria, the government must ensure taxi fleets’ impartiality and transparency.
政府は、客観的で分かりやすい基準を設け、公平性や透明性を保たねばならない。

Taxi operators have started using smartphones so they can dispatch taxis located nearest to a prospective passenger. In addition, an increasing number of operators are equipping their taxis with rails and other means to allow aged users to get into and out of the vehicles more easily.
 業界では、利用客のスマートフォンから位置情報を取得し、一番近い車を配車するサービスが登場している。高齢者が乗降しやすい手すりなどを備えた車を用意する業者も増えてきた。

It is important for taxi operators to make full use of their ingenuity and redouble competitive efforts to attract passengers.
 タクシー各社が、それぞれに創意工夫を凝らし、新規需要の開拓競争に励むことが肝要である。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2013)
(2013年12月2日02時06分  読売新聞)

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