Downstream to downtown
Hailing a taxi on the riverbank won't get you committed... at least not in Osaka, Japan's second city. That's because as of January 11, you can call a crab - er, cab - to pick you up on the riverside and deliver you safe and sound (and dry) to your downtown destination. Not a bad idea, considering the legendary traffic jams in Japan's major cities.
Osaka Mizukaido 808, the private operator of the innovative service, test drove a frog-green taxi up and down Osaka's Dotonbori River on January 9 to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept. Yasuhiro Suchi, who piloted the amphibious taxi, just happens to be the company's 60-year-old executive director. Said Suchi, "We want people to realize that Osaka is a city of water."
So-called "water taxis" are nothing new but fully amphibious ones are. The versatile vehicles will save passengers the trouble of transferring from standard cab to water taxi and vice versa. Each cab can carry up to three passengers and are mainly intended to facilitate sightseeing in Osaka. The cost for a ride/cruise? A steep 19,560 yen (about $175) for the first hour and 8,700 yen (around $78) per each 30 minutes thereafter. It's a good thing Osaka Mizukaido 808 is a nonprofit organization, or somebody might accuse them of piracy. How do you say "Arrrrrr!" in Japanese? (via Japan Today, images via Yahoo! News and Mizukaido808)
Japanese Innovations Writer