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Business trends

Tokyo taxis embrace apps to prepare for Uber

Operators are testing a preset-fare system, eyeing a launch in 2018

Tokyo taxi operators hold a kickoff ceremony for preset-fare services on Aug. 7.

TOKYO -- Taxi companies in Tokyo on Monday began testing a new app-based system that lets customers see the final fare when booking a ride. The move is aimed at helping them stay competitive amid the growing popularity of ride-hailing services, such as those offered by Uber Technologies.

Under the trial system, users book a taxi through a smartphone app, selecting the pickup and drop-off points. The fare is then calculated based on the time and distance to the destination. Once a price is agreed upon, it will not go up even if the taxi gets stuck in traffic or takes a longer route. Taxi operators believe that the possibility of escalating fares is a concern for many potential customers.

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