The different opinions on Kakao carpool have continued ever since its appearance in 2018. ST discusses the carpool. ....................................................Ed
On December 20, 2018, unlike normal days, there were no taxis on the road. More than 100,000 taxi drivers went on strike in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido. Without driving their taxis, the drivers of the whole country asked the government to guarantee their right to survive. The reason for their strike was the launching of the Kakao car pool service and the deregulations of the government toward it. Car pool refers to sharing a car with someone whose destination or direction is the same. On February 2018, Kakao entered the car pool market in earnest by taking over “Luxi,” the largest car pool company in South Korea. In response, taxi drivers nationwide went on strike considering Kakao car pool as something that threatens their right to survive. As a result, the official opening date of Kakao car pool, which was scheduled for December, last year, has been postponed.
Kakao said that it will not affect the taxi drivers because they are going to use car pool to supplement taxis during the rush hours when the demand for taxi exceeds the supply of taxi. In order to do this, they say, the carpool service will be limited to twice a day. There are also many other proponents of car pool. First, it can reduce the traffic jam. Taking advantage of the intent of carpool, it will be possible to reduce the number of cars running during rush hours and avoid traffic jam. There are predictions that the car pool can prevent waste of resources and solve the problem of air pollution caused by car smoke too. In addition, from the user`s point of view, t h e y c a n u s e c a r pool at a lower price than a taxi. A s w e c a n see in other c o u n t r i e s where it has been common, car pool is cheaper than using a taxi. And users cite cheap prices as the main reason for using car pool. Finally, as mentioned earlier, the carpool services have already successfully settled in many countries, thus it is becoming an irresistible global trend. The later entry into the growing market, the more you`re left behind. In this point of view, proponents ask the government to fully support and thus not to lose the domestic market to foreign companies.
On the other hand, the voices opposing the Kakao car pool has also risen. Taxi drivers believe that car pool will be used just like the taxi that visits exact moment and location that users have already set. And this is not the original purpose of car pool. Therefore, taxi drivers believe this is a clear invasion of business rights toward taxi drivers. In fact, in other countries, car-sharing services such as Uber are treated like a taxi by users. In London, the opposition of “Black Cab” drivers toward Uber is as harsh as the Korean taxi drivers opposing Kakao car pool. It takes almost four years and should pass a test to get a license of “Black Cab” driver, which is why the “Black Cab” drivers are strongly opposing Uber. People also concerns about the safety of car pool. For the identity of car pool drivers aren`t reliable and someone can commit a crime by using car pool.
Due to these different opinions between taxi industry and Kakao, the government has launched a social compromise organization for the co-development of taxis and platforms at the suggestion of taxi industry. The government, the ruling party, four taxi organizations, and Kakao have been discussing this matter in the organization. However, there is criticism that it could be a battleground between the two industries. Kim Hyeon-mi, the minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport was determined to find a way to co-exist through ample conversation between the interested parties.
Oh Ye-sung[ST Cub-Reporter]