Private cab operators who do not register must return their “dongdong”… Why invoicing is endangering “private cab” operators. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Private cab operators who do not register must return their “dongdong”… Why invoicing is endangering “private cab” operators.

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The disabled and elderly will lose “public transportation”!

The invoice (qualified invoice) system started on October 1.

Just before the introduction of the invoice system, Mr. Yoshiharu Akiyama, the executive committee chairman of the Tokyo Private Taxi Workers Union (TPO), held an emergency press conference on September 29 to denounce the fact that disadvantageous treatment was occurring and to call for the suspension of the invoice system.

In the private cab industry, where the majority of operators are tax-exempt and earn less than 10 million yen a year, a number of operators are being forced out of business.

We have heard the heartrending cries of the private cab industry.

Sticker required for private cab operators who do not register with invoice

In March of this year, Mr. Akira Koike of the Japanese Communist Party, a member of the House of Councillors’ Finance and Monetary Affairs Committee, raised the issue of the problems that the introduction of invoicing causes in the private cab industry and asked Finance Minister Suzuki if he was aware of the unreasonable situation that was occurring.

At that time, Minister Suzuki was not aware of it, and Takeshi Shinagawa, Director General of the Fair Trade Commission’s Trade Division, came out and answered, ‘There is a fear that it may become a problem under the Antimonopoly Law'” (Mr. Yoshiharu Akiyama, Executive Director, hereinafter the same).

What is actually happening in the field?

For example, at the Tokyo Business Cooperative Association of the Japan Piece Dealers Association (about 3,500 members), which is known for its “danden” (lanterns), the “danden” must be removed if they are not included in the invoice, and the cost of removing the lanterns is at their own expense.

Also, “Denden” (Tokyo Individual Taxi Cooperative, about 6,000 members), whose cars have “Denden Mushi” lanterns on their roofs, is demanding that operators who do not register for invoice return the lanterns and also remove the blue lines. They say it costs 50,000 yen to remove the blue line, but they have to pay for that too.

In other words, that kind of discrimination takes place while paying the same union fee.

Also, normally, the money goes to the head office for card payment, and each business takes the receipt to the head office for redemption, but if they do not register for invoicing, they cannot use the cashless terminal machines, so they cannot make card payments either. Even if a business tries to buy a terminal and do it on their own account, some associations prohibit personal use of the machines.”

Invoice registration is not supposed to be “mandatory”…

It is reported that more than 90% of the private cab industry also registers for invoicing and becomes a taxable business. However, Mr. Akiyama, who knows the inner workings of the industry well, is skeptical of these reports.

According to someone from Denden’s Kyoto branch, ostensibly more than 90% are registered, but the actual number is as high as 750 people who are not registered.

Of the 3,500 or so Chochin members, 160 are unregistered, and of the 50 members of the Tohokoro, seven are unregistered. The actual number of invoice registrants is not the same as the number of those registered with the government.

Furthermore, in Kyoto, not only are 750 people unregistered, but the union is also sending out a message to its members on line saying, “Please make sure to answer that you are doing invoicing.

In the private cab industry, where there are few opportunities for union members to get together, rumors spread that “he/she is not invoicing,” and there is a risk of being ostracized. It is strange, isn’t it, that invoice registration should not be compulsory?

When invoicing is discussed, there are those who, as if by convention, invoke the “self-responsibility theory” and say that it is the fault of those who cannot make money, or that if they cannot make money, they should just go out of business. What they lack is the perspective of “public welfare.

Finance Minister Suzuki acknowledges that cabs are public transportation, but if they are not registered with invoices, they will not be able to use tickets or welfare coupons for people with disabilities, the elderly, or single mothers and their children.

Then, when they are offered a welfare ticket as before, they have to decline it, saying, ‘I can’t use it.

You may say, ‘Then, just do invoicing.

But to begin with, most private cab operators have annual incomes of less than 10 million yen, and among them, most private cab operators over 70 years old are community-based.

The elderly cannot use apps first, so they call, but when they are asked where they are going and give the name of the hospital, the dispatcher tells them, ‘We are trying to arrange a ride, but I don’t know if we can respond. This is not a refusal of a ride.

If you are a “good customer” from a business standpoint, such as a customer of the app, you can get a taxi immediately, but if you are a customer who needs a ride to a nearby hospital or other place with a distance of 500 yen, even if the taxi dispatcher agrees, the driver will refuse to give you a ride, saying, “I can’t go to such a nearby place.

Local private cabs are currently operating on welfare coupons, receiving reservations from the elderly and senior citizens who say, ‘I’m going to the hospital next week, so I’ll take care of you,’ but if they have to decline the reservation, who will fill that role?

Even if a person’s life has not been going well due to various reasons, such as company bankruptcy or changing jobs, he or she can start over at age 50 as a cab driver,” says Akiyama (photo in the image).

The cab industry is essentially a dream industry in an aging society

Cab operators earn an average of about 4 to 5 million yen a year in Tokyo. Some taxi operators who mainly make round-trips to airports, shopping malls, and other long-distance destinations earn more than 13 million yen a year, he says. The cab industry is essentially a dream industry for an aging society,” says Akiyama.

Even those whose lives have not gone well due to various reasons, such as company bankruptcy or having to move from one job to another, can start over as a cab driver at the age of 50.

In fact, many people become corporate cab drivers at age 50, work hard for 10 years, and then become independent private cab drivers at about age 60. They also receive about 1 million yen in retirement benefits, and from there they can work for about 15 years until graduation at age 75.

Some people earn well into their 50s and then make an I-turn or U-turn.

However, invoice crushes such dreams of the future. Those who continue to work in a small way while taking care of their parents or those who want to contribute to society at the end of their lives are supporting the role of public transportation for the disabled and elderly to go to hospitals by working as community-based private cabs when they are in their 70s or so.

However, due to the difficulty in responding to invoicing, operators in their 72s to 73s are saying, ‘I think I’m going to quit. Those who have registered for invoicing will probably pretty much quit when they pay their taxes next year. And that’s because the sales tax is a lump-sum amount, and we can’t give them a discount.”

Staying close to the elderly and the disabled…Private cabs are locally based “public transportation”.

If these private cab operators were to go out of business with the introduction of the invoice system, or if they were to give priority to the pursuit of profit, the elderly and the disabled would lose their public transportation and be left stranded.

If we use the invoice system, the consumption tax burden will be higher, so private cab operators will also go to the city center. This will lead to a situation where cabs will no longer be available in downtown areas during the daytime, and when you need to transport a family member to the hospital for an emergency, you will not be able to arrange for a cab.

Also, if welfare coupons are no longer available, for example, when a mother and her child need a cab for their child’s illness, they will have no choice but to refuse the cab if they are told, “We don’t have cash at the moment, so we will use welfare coupons.

Moreover, it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get an elderly or disabled person in or out of a wheelchair, and community-based private cab operators are aware of such circumstances of their clients and accept them even for short distances.

Community-based private cab operators say, “We do what we do for a living, contributing to society, and even if our sales are low, we do it because we are happy to be thanked for transporting our neighbors to their appointments who cannot go to the hospital. But we don’t do corporate cabs, because we don’t make any money.’

If they say, ‘We don’t have any cash right now, so we’ll use welfare coupons,’ we have no choice but to refuse,” said Akiyama (photo at left). I think we will see more and more inconveniences and problems in the future,” said Hayashi (right in photo).

In addition, the government and others are now promoting “ridesharing,” the use of private cars to transport people for a fee, and Etsuo Hayashi, general secretary of the Tokyo Regional Federation of Jikkosoren (Japan Automobile Dealers Union), points out the problems with this concept.

Rideshare proponents, including the government, have set a policy to promote ridesharing. Governor Yuji Kuroiwa of Kanagawa Prefecture has even set up a department to promote the Kanagawa version of ridesharing, and the clock is ticking.

We believe that the aim is to accelerate the closure of private cab operators through invoicing.

Ridesharing is like being a delivery person for Uber Eats.

The cab industry now has various policing measures in place, college graduates are coming in, and the level of customer service has improved, but if ridesharing goes forward, which can be done with a single type of license, we won’t even know if the car is insured or inspected when we say we have registered, received a call, or accepted the call. I don’t even know if the car is insured or inspected.

Cabs now offer umbrellas when it rains, but we don’t even know if they offer such a service.

I am worried that being lumped together with ridesharing will also damage the reputation of the cab industry. In other countries, the problem of ridesharing is becoming more visible and people are returning to cabs, but Japan is trying to move forward with it,” said Akiyama.

While complaining that there is a shortage of cabs due to the increase in tourists, the “invoice system” is likely to accelerate the closure of private cab operators and put them out of business, even those that serve as “public transportation” for the socially vulnerable without regard to their profitability. Mr. Hayashi says, “Until now, the introduction of the invoice system has not been a problem.

However, in reality, I think we are going to see more and more inconveniences and problems in the future.

In order to fulfill its role as a public transportation system, the invoice needs to be reviewed. I would like to reiterate to those who have registered that it is revocable.”

A line sent to union members that reads, “Please make sure to answer that you are doing invoicing.
  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

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