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Taxi lines to be combined at Naha Domestic Airport

Date Posted: 2003-04-12

Customers seeking taxis at Naha Domestic Airport will soon see changes in the taxi stops. Officials at Okinawa Prefecture General Bureau have announced a plan to end the division of taxi stops into short and long distance fares. The division has long been the source of friction between taxi drivers and their customers.

Taxi drivers prefer to take long distance fares as they make more money by long distance driving to destinations outside of Naha City and its vicinity. Drivers typically are paid a percentage of the total of their fares during the shift. The result is that many drivers are waiting for hours for the one long distance fare that makes their day.

This has also resulted in shouting matches between customers and drivers, as people try getting into a taxi at the long distance stand for a ride to Nakagusuku, Oyama, Ginowan, Itoman or other destinations that the driver does not consider to be far enough.

Taxi companies are almost unanimous in their support of abolishing the division altogether. "It is in our best interest to have our taxis running all the time, whether the customer wants to go far or near. We make no money if our driver is sitting or sleeping in the car waiting for long distance customers. That's why the airport should have only one taxi stand," a manager of a Naha taxi operator said.

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