From:  Japan for Sustainability

The All-Japan Parent-Support Taxi Association announced on March 1, 2010, that the number of taxi companies that have joined its program has grown to 68 in 21 prefectures, and Parent-Support taxi drivers authorized by the association totaled 838, as of February 28, 2010. Taxis labeled with a Parent-Support Taxi logo, a registered trademark, are equipped with a child seat and offer a pick-up service for parents with babies or infants, who often need to carry large bags, or for children riding alone. Customers first have to register as a member of the users’ group, which then allows them to use the service at the regular taxi fare rate.

Only authorized drivers of participating taxi companies that meet the association’s criteria are allowed to offer the Parent-Support Taxi service, and they are required to complete more than eight hours of a training program designated by the association, and a half-day of on-site child-care training. In the training, they study safety measures for infants and children, and practice cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to handle an automated external defibrillator (AED). They also get to experience real-life scenarios that pregnant women and mothers might face, such as walking in the rain with a small child, bags, and a baby carriage, all while wearing a special “smock” shaped with a large tummy to mimic the feeling of being pregnant.

The service offers various programs, including a Kangaroo Program for infants with an attendant, a Chick Program for children with no attendant, an Owl Program for emergency or night-time pickups, and a program for pregnant women. The association is planning to create a new program for children with disabilities.