Why Sweden now offers taxis in 28 different languages

Why Sweden now offers taxis in 28 different languages
A badge indicating a driver speaks both Swedish and French. Photo: Taxi Stockholm
A Swedish taxi company has launched an ambitious new service that will allow foreign visitors in Stockholm the chance to book multilingual drivers, with up to 28 languages on offer.

Taxi Stockholm claims that with its new “Taxi Translators” project the Swedish capital becomes the first city to offer a truly multilingual taxi service. Their marketing manager Carina Herly told The Local that the idea was inspired by the company’s international workforce.

“We have a lot of drivers from different countries – 90, to be exact. So we came up with the concept that you can book a cab with a driver who speaks the language you want to have,” she explained.

The concept aims to take advantage of Stockholm’s growing popularity as a tourist destination by appealing to visitors who speak limited English.

“While many people of course speak English, some don’t, and others may want to speak a different language to feel more relaxed. So if you speak Spanish, that’s no problem. If you only speak German, that’s not a problem too,” Herly said.

The service is available at no additional cost online, as well as through hotels that collaborate with the taxi company. Along with the aforementioned Spanish and German speaking drivers, French, Chinese and Russian are three more of the 28 languages available.

Though currently only a pilot project, the goal is to make it permanent if it proves to be successful. And for marketing manager Herly, it is important to show off the positive side of having a workforce comprised of a variety of different nationalities.

“We’re very proud of our drivers and the fact that they are from so many different countries. We can show that we have a mixture of employees, and that’s important nowadays when there are a lot of things to worry about in the world,” she said.

This is not the first time that Taxi Stockholm has launched an unorthodox initiative for its customers.

In 2014, the company started offering free therapy sessions for passengers. The Local even sent our very own Oliver Gee along for a spin, which was detailed here.