Pandemic accelerates shortage of Japan taxi drivers

A survey shows the number of Japanese taxi drivers has dropped sharply from four years ago, after the coronavirus pandemic accelerated problems created by an ageing workforce.

The Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations says its members registered 231,938 drivers at the end of March. That's down 20.4 percent from the same time in 2019.

Many drivers quit during the pandemic, discouraged by a decline in income. They were also afraid of getting infected in their cars.

Business has picked up recently, fueled by the return of foreign visitors. People are now complaining of a taxi shortage.

Elderly customers are especially concerned. They say they are having difficulties finding transport to hospitals.