SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — An increasing number of taxi drivers are joining action to oppose a newly proposed carpooling venture from Kakao Mobility.
The drivers of nearly 70,000 taxis in Seoul announced that they would stop all operations to participate in a rally to be held in the capital city’s Gwanghwamun district at 2 p.m. on October 18.
The Seoul Private Taxi Association delivered a message to its members yesterday, stating that a decision was made to stop all taxi operations to gather at Gwanghwamun to “fight for survival.”
Currently, there are 49,242 taxis that are operated privately. Taxis run by transportations companies account for another 22,603 vehicles, bringing the total to 71,845 taxis operating in the Seoul area.
The decision was prompted by the launch of a carpooling application developed by Kakao Mobility which advertised, yesterday, the recruitment of drivers.
The Seoul Private Taxi Association claims that the carpooling service will take down the taxi industry.
“Do you think taxis will become relevant if carpooling services are offered 24 hours a day?” asked Cha Sun-seon, the president of the association. “It’s pretty much over for the taxi industry,” said Cha.
Cha went on to say that the government should recognize the fact that there are over 260,000 people who work in the taxi-related industry nationally.
“If you include their families, the total number of people affected would be 1 million,” said Cha.
Four taxi-related interest groups around the nation released a joint statement, strongly denouncing Kakao Mobility’s proposed service and warned of their collective action.
The groups also criticized the government for allowing Kakao to launch its service, and called for an immediate discontinuation of “illegal” carpooling services.
H. S. Seo (firstname.lastname@example.org)