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Monday, 14th November 2016
In Japan Travel News,

Japan's elderly population turning to Uber

It’s not the demographic that most people associate with Uber, but the taxi app is being widely used by Japan’s ageing population.

Those living in rural areas are turning to Uber as an alternative to public transport and finding that it’s a convenient way to get around.

One such customer is Yaeko Tanaka, a 90-year-old who lives in Tangocho, a remote coastal community, around three hours by bus from Kyoto.

She told The Telegraph about her experiences with Uber, which have helped to keep her independent in her advancing years.

“I used to take the bus to go to hospital, but it was hard for me to walk to the bus stop due to my weak legs. However, since I started using this service, I can go directly from my doorstep to the hospital entrance with ease. I just call up a nearby friend who can request a ride with Uber, which is really easy to use,” she said.

Ms Tanaka is not alone, however, as she is representative of the expansion approach Uber has adopted in Japan.

This is because the country has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world and therefore a unique set of circumstances that lead to different needs.

Add to this the strict regulations in place on ride-sharing services in metropolises, such as Tokyo, and serving smaller communities is the only way that Uber could thrive in Japan.

As a result, Tangocho in the Kyotango region and Nakatonbetsu, a town on the northernmost island Hokkaido are the two places where Uber is coming to prominence in the nation.

Since these pilot schemes have proven popular, Uber intends to roll out its services in rural communities throughout Japan.

It is currently undertaking discussions with various local government authorities to get to the go-ahead to do so.