A joint venture headed by Sony today launched a taxi service in Tokyo, marking another important entry into Japan's unusual transportation landscape. The S.Ride application of Minna no Taxi is available for use as of today and allows users to mark regular taxis; Payment can be made with cash, credit card or through a digital wallet with QR code.
The S in S.Ride does not correspond to Sony, as can be expected, a press release describes the service as "simple, intelligent and fast." The name can also be read as a play on words, since the interface of The user of the application is based on a sliding gesture.Sony says that S.Ride uses artificial intelligence technology to predict where demand will be higher and send drivers accordingly.
Minna no Taxi (Taxis of all) formed last year by Sony Payment Services, Sony Corp. and six taxi companies, although only five are mentioned in today's press release, which includes Daiwa and Kokusai, two of Tokyo's largest operators, and Sony says that the total size of the fleet will exceed 10,000 cars.
S.Ride is not the first application of its kind in Japan, the dominant chat application Line launched a similar collaboration with the leading taxi company Nihon Kotsu in 2015, although the service ended last year. The biggest competitor will be JapanTaxi, an application run by Ichiro Kawanabe, CEO of Nihon Kotsu and president of the Japan Taxi Federation. Uber is a small player in Japan and largely only offers premium black cars in Tokyo, although he is starting to partner with taxi companies.