SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Ride sharing services haven’t taken off in South Korea due to safety concerns and discomfort with meeting strangers, a new study has found.
According to the joint study conducted by the Korea Startup Forum and Research & Research, fewer than 2 in 10 South Koreans have used a ride sharing service.
Researchers arrived at their conclusions after querying a sample of 1,000 adults in Seoul and the surrounding area last month who had used a taxi in the last year.
Only 16.7 percent said they had used a ride sharing service before, while 38.8 percent said they were aware of them.
Among the 467 respondents who had experienced ride sharing services, over 58 percent said they were satisfied, while 8.6 percent said they were dissatisfied.
While ‘cheaper price’ turned out to be the biggest strength of ride sharing services, discomfort with strangers, and concerns about car accidents were among the biggest challenges.
Nearly 4 in 10 respondents believed taxis were safer than ride services, while 33.4 percent said there was little to no difference regarding safety.
“The lingering safety concerns surrounding ride sharing services can become obstacles in the future. Once ride sharing services become more common, we’ll see less concern over safety,” said Lee Dong-yeol, a team leader at Research & Research.
Opinions varied when asked about the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s decision to investigate carpool service Poolus’s office over a possible violation of transport service law, with 58.4 percent calling the move ‘excessive’, while 41.6 percent supported the government’s inquiry.
Over 7 in 10 respondents said ride sharing services should be permitted, while 55.5 percent supported a 24-hour service.
The findings also gave hope as over 70 percent said they could participate in carpooling as a driver, after being explained how ride sharing services work.
When asked about competition with taxis, many people said ride sharing services could coexist with taxis, but also have a positive impact on their rivals.
“Currently, ride sharing services account for only 1 percent of taxi rides. Though competition is limited at the moment, it’s not too late to popularize ride sharing while improving public transport at the same time,” said Choi Seong-jin, a member of the Korea Startup Forum.