Thorough training the key to salaried cabby model, says Tokyo taxi operator

Gojyo Taxi, which was set up in 1955, is a taxi operator in Tokyo. Like most other cab firms in Tokyo, it pays drivers a basic salary with bonuses based on the revenue a driver brings in for the company.
Gojyo Taxi, which was set up in 1955, is a taxi operator in Tokyo. Like most other cab firms in Tokyo, it pays drivers a basic salary with bonuses based on the revenue a driver brings in for the company.PHOTO: GOJYO TAXI

Thorough training is what keeps salaried cabbies in Tokyo's Gojyo Taxi working hard on the roads and picking up fares.

The company's managing director, Mutsuo Nakazawa, told The Sunday Times in an e-mail interview from Japan that each of its 165 drivers brings in an average of about 500,000 yen (S$6,230) in fare revenue for the company every month.

The firm spends two months training new drivers.

In Tokyo, there are about 30,900 taxis which are corporately owned, and whose cabbies are employed with fixed wages and variable commissions.

It is a sharp contrast to the Singapore model, where the more than 26,000 taxis are rented out to cabbies who have to pay daily rentals of up to S$130 for a saloon model.

In October last year (2016), however, new operator HDT (Hold Dreams Together) Singapore Taxi bucked the trend by employing cabbies with fixed salaries and bonuses.

 

But the model has come under abuse, with cabbies misappropriating fare revenue and underperforming, ST was told.

Gojyo's Mr Nakazawa told ST that in motivating drivers to perform well, there is "not a specific cure" but repeated education.

Gojyo Taxi, which started operations in 1955, has a fleet of 80 taxis.

Drivers start with a monthly basic salary of about 210,000 Japanese yen (S$2,620), and with bonuses paid according to the fares they bring in.

With bonuses thrown in, the average monthly wages for its drivers are between 320,000 (S$4,000) and 350,000 yen (S$4,360).

Mr Nakazawa said: "We educate the drivers individually when it (the revenue) is too bad."

He declined to go into details regarding how drivers are coached, but only said that it took many years to build up the programme.