【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. avail oneself of /əˈveɪl wʌnˈsɛlf ʌv/ (idiom) – to use or take advantage of an available resource
Example: We availed ourselves of the discount for first-time customers in the restaurant.
2. optimistic /ˌɒp təˈmɪs tɪk/ (adj.) – being hopeful about something that will happen
Example: Henry is optimistic that he will get a high score.
3. commuter /kəˈmyu tər/ (n.) – someone who travels to work by car, bus, train, or taxi regularly
Example: The commuters were annoyed because the train was delayed.
4. eye /aɪ/ (v.) – to closely observe or look at something
Example: The company is eyeing business students who have experience working overseas.
5. undergo /ˌʌn dərˈgoʊ/ (v.) – to experience something that is required
Example: The new employees will undergo training next week.
Read the text below.
Taxi companies have been working on initiatives intended to encourage Japanese passengers to avail themselves of taxi services. The taxi service industry in Japan has been facing a decline for several years, but they are hoping that the new fares would give the industry the boost it needs.
A survey done by the Tokyo Taxi-Hire Association (THTA) found that 27 percent of their customers traveled an average distance of only 1.41 kilometers. The new minimum fare will be 410 yen for the first 1.059 kilometers, while the original minimum fare was 730 yen for the first two kilometers. Since there are many short-distance riders, companies are optimistic that this will appeal to their target customers.
Tokyo has been known for having a higher minimum fare compared to New York and London. At the same time, Tokyo is famed for its efficient mass transportation system. Because of this, commuters opt to use other means of transport.
Aside from commuters, companies are also eyeing other customers such as tourists and parents who have to bring their children to cram schools.
For instance, the THTA has launched a special service for tourists called the Tokyo Sightseeing Taxi. The fare starts at 13,090 yen plus a guiding fee of 1,860 yen. Drivers undergo a certification system wherein they learn how to guide passengers around Tokyo and provide assistance to elderly and disabled customers.
Other initiatives for tourists also include drivers who can speak multiple languages and flat-rate 1,000-yen taxis.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Do you agree that lower fares will attract more customers? Why or why not?
· If you were the head of the Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association, what initiatives would you propose to boost the taxi service industry?
· What are the differences of public transportation in urban areas and in rural areas?
· What is the role or impact of public transportation in a country’s tourism industry?