A Win-Win Approach to Carpooling Service Needed
A Win-Win Approach to Carpooling Service Needed
  • Reporter Lee Mi-yeon
  • 승인 2019.02.11 22:41
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Massive rally held to protest launch of a carpooling service/ Yonhap
Massive rally held to protest launch of a carpooling service/ Yonhap

When Kakao Taxi service was started in March 2015, taxi businesses and Kakao had been working together. The two companies were in a position to coexist with signing business agreements with taxi operator and labor unions. However, the relationship between the two sides has gone sour when Kakao released ‘KakaoT’ by dispersing Kakao Mobility. Kakao Mobility introduced KakaoT in a bundle of chauffeur service and taxi service. In addition to increasing user convenience by bringing mobility services together, it was also a groundwork to launch carpool services. 
The taxi industry has been protesting the carpool service, claiming it threatens their job security and livelihood. A 57-year-old taxi driver died after setting himself on fire in protest launching carpooling services. Following the death of another taxi driver, Kakao Mobility postponed the formal launch of services. Following Kakao’s announcement of the suspension of the carpooling service, the four major interest groups for taxi drivers were invited to talk with member of the ruling party to come up with a solution to get through this situation and discuss chances to improve the environment for drivers. However, they did not show up. They still stick to their position that they would not talk unless Kakao Mobility stops offering carpool services. 
The taxi industry and Kakao have not narrowed their differences on commuting time. The related law states that ‘cars that are not commercial vehicles should not be offered or leased for transportation purposes, and no one should be informed of them.’ However, it was treated as an exception during commuting time. Kakao Mobility claims that the carpool will not ‘replace’ taxi services but ‘complement’ them. The logic is that providing carpool services during rush hour when taxi demands is high can only supplement the current taxi business without infringing on the business rights of the taxi industry. As it claims, the concept of commuting times must be fixed within a certain time to understand the services. However, the law has opened up the concept of commuting time in a flexible way, and in reality, working hours has become more difficult to be covered specifically due to the flexible working system. Concerned with the above legal openness and conceptual flexibility, the taxi industry believes that the carpool service will eventually replace the taxi industry itself.
Taxi drivers’ strike has failed to earn wide support from the public. In fact, 34.2% of the complaints were about drivers selectively rejecting customers, while 31.7% were about drivers not being kind and 17.2% were about unjust taxi fare charges. To alleviate issues concerning taxis, the government has suggested connecting existing taxis to Information Communication Technology to make it easier to provide their services. They also reviewing the idea of making sure drivers are paid on a monthly payroll instead of the current system. 


However, the public must also consider the working conditions of taxi drivers. Taxi have been an important transportation means in the country, but there are a lot of taxis that failed to operate properly due to the lack of drivers, and this is because the income of the drivers is low compared to the long hours that they work. As a result, many people have experienced inconvenience. Related department should find a way where everyone in the industry and most of the public is satisfied.

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