Photo/IllutrationToyota Motor Corp.’s JPN Taxi released last year will be improved for wheelchair users as early as spring 2019. This picture was taken in October 2017. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Toyota Motor Corp. says it will improve wheelchair access for its JPN Taxi model after receiving complaints about the time required to set up ramps to board and to exit the cabs.

The universal design taxi started selling in October 2017 taking into account needs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The taxi is equipped with ramps that allow passengers to board while sitting in wheelchairs.

However, about 12,000 signatures calling for improvements to the taxi were submitted by a board member of a social welfare council in Nagoya, who gathered them through an online petition website on Nov. 29.

"It takes at least 15 minutes to install the ramps," one of the organizers said. "It's too inconvenient."

In response to the complaints, Toyota plans to reduce the number of ramps from two to one, and the new slope will be easier to install--with a single touch. The improved cab will be sold as early as April.

Currently, two slopes, each with three folding sections, are stored in the back of the cabs and floor space of the rear seat, making it a struggle to bring out and assemble them.