Private drivers with their own vehicles can now be hailed for rides in Tokyo, marking the first time in Japan that ride-hailing has been put into practice after the system was introduced on April 1.

Unlike in other countries, however, private drivers need to be employed as part-timers at taxi companies, which are in charge of managing and training the drivers.

“(Japanese) taxis are valued as one of the best and safest services in the world,” said Ichiro Kawanabe, who heads the Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association, during a ceremony in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward to mark the introduction of private drivers on Monday.