Taxi labor unions protest against Kakao's carpool service

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2018-10-04 11:09 Updated : 2018-10-04 11:09
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[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- Kakao, the operator of South Korea's most popular messenger app Kakao Talk, was faced with a strong resistance from the country's taxi industry as the web service giant is preparing to launch a carpool service based on its smart mobility app platform.

According to protest organizers, about five hundred taxi drivers will gather in front of Kakao's company building located at Seongnam, a satellite city of Seoul, at 11:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) Thursday.

The organizers, which consist of members of four taxi labor unions, said they will demand the web service giant to stop the launching of its carpool service and urge the government to revise law regarding carpool activities. The unions will hold another rally on October 18 in central Seoul with about 30,000 participants.

Currently, Article 81 of South Korea's passenger transport service act stipulates that owners of normal passenger vehicles can receive money when they provide rides for other people to work during commuting hours.

Uber, an American car-sharing service company, was met with a stronger level of resistance from city officials and taxi drivers when the company launched its service in Seoul in 2013. The launching of Uber's service came to a halt due to a series of strong protests.

Kakao, the leader in the country's smart mobility service industry, operated services such as Kakao Taxi, a taxi-hailing service launched in 2015, and Kakao Driver, a chauffeur service launched in 2016, and now the company's smart mobility services are integrated into a single application Kakao T.