Sanwa Kotsu recognizes that not everyone who wants a ride wants a conversation too.

In theory, a taxi should be the most comfortable way to get from Point A to point B. You’re free from the stress of having to navigate and drive yourself, but also guaranteed a seat to sit down in and a lot more personal space than you’d have on a crowded train or bus.

However, taxi rides also include a potentially awkward reality: having to make small talk with your driver. Even if you’re ordinarily outgoing and social, everyone has days when they’re tired or just not in the mood for chitchat. Maybe you’re on your way to an important meeting and mentally running through your notes one more time, or maybe you’re just worn out and need a few minutes to stare out the window and relax in silence.

Whatever your reason, Japanese taxi operator Sanwa Kotsu understands, and so they’re providing the option of a quiet ride that you can initiate with a simple tap of your finger.

When you hop into one of Sanwa’s Turtle Taxi-brand cabs, you’ll see a touchscreen facing the rear seats. At the bottom left of the screen is a button labeled サイレントモード, or “Silent Mode.” Tap on that, and it relays the request to the front, letting the driver know that you’d prefer conversation-free transportation today.

The other buttons also offer ways to tailor the experience to your liking. At the top left, Turtle Taxi Mode (タートルタクシーモード) is Turtle Taxi’s signature service, a request for your driver to prioritize smoothness over speed in accelerating and braking, both for less jostling during the drive and better fuel economy/eco-friendliness. Over at the top right is the button for Toasty Mode (あったかモード), a request to turn on the heater or raise its temperature, and below it is Chilly Mode (ひんやりモード), if you’d like cooler air conditioning. Finally, at the bottom left is a button you can tap to purchase a bottle of water for 100 yen (US$0.75), a very handy service since the dropped-at-the-door nature of taxi travel means you probably won’t be passing by any of the vending machines or convenience stores that are clustered around train stations in Japan.

▼ Turtle Taxi’s bottled water

Sanwa Kotsu primarily operates in Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo’s neighbor directly to the south, and Silent Mode, as well as the other touchscreen-initiated requests, are being offered now on its cars garaged outside Tokyo, though there’s a chance you’ll spot some in Tokyo too if there’s on trips over the prefectural borderline.

Source: PR Times via IT Media
Images: PR Times
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