(Bloomberg) -- Taxi fares in Tokyo may rise for the first time in 15 years, joining an extensive list of products and services facing increasing inflationary pressures in the world’s third-biggest economy.

Starting rates would increase by 19% and subsequent ticks by 20%, although both would cover slightly longer distances, according to proposals submitted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to the Cabinet office. The Nikkei newspaper reported the recommendation earlier, saying changes may start as soon as November. 

The hikes are needed in order to improve the wages and working environment for drivers, as well as to cover for rising fuel costs, the transport ministry said. Surging commodity prices, exacerbated by a weakening yen, have pushed Japanese companies to pass on higher costs to consumers, increasing inflationary pressures. 

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The taxi industry was also impacted by the pandemic, as fewer people went out and cabs faced costs to introduce cashless payment methods and other virus protection measures. Last month Hong Kong raised cab fares for the first time in five years in an effort to help the industry.



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