In March this year, the government concluded an agreement between the taxi industry and carpool industry seeking communication through the ‘Social Cooperation Organization’. Since the agreement, the introduction of various transportation services has been activated, sparking a wave of changes in transportation services, including the taxi industry.
Under the agreement of the compromise, the taxi industry is also moving to improve its service. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, a total of 628 civil petitions about refusing passengers have been filed in the first three months of this year. Comparing 1,196 in the same period last year, it declined by about 47.5%. "It seems that the penalty which the Seoul Metropolitan Government had been actively issuing was effective," a city official said. There are not only improvements in services, but also taxis that offer a variety of services. WAYGO operated by TagoSolutions, a taxi carrier company of 50 taxi companies in Seoul and Seongnam is a new concept taxi that combines Kakao Mobility platform with taxis. It offers differentiated services based on consumers' needs. For example, WAYGO LADY Service is a service for female customers who want to move late at night. WAYGO PET is for the customers who have pets, and WAYGO CARE is for elderly and vulnerable people who have difficulties in physically moving.
With the introduction of various transportation services as well as the taxi industry, consumers are expanding their options for transportation. The mobility platform brand ‘Tada’ operates on an 11 seats RV providing a pleasant and spacious interior space. With a large number of seats available, consumers can not only move in groups but also share their vehicles with people in the same destination. In addition, it offers TadaAIR services that can move between the airport and desired destinations. At the same time, the car-sharing brand, ‘Socar’ offers a service that allows consumers to easily rent cars from more than 3,500 Sonata zones across the country.
However, society has trouble with the introduction of these new services. Some in the taxi industry still argue against them, and in some cases, the consultation process with each city has not been smooth. Even within the carpooling industry, start-up companies that had previously provided services are protesting because of the increase of regulations. Agreement between ‘Socar’ and Seoul Metropolitan which has been stalled for months is an example. The city says that it should impose a performance bond because there are no legal reasons to control business like a commission from the driver. The reason for this is the concern that companies could excessively raise the fees they receive from drivers after increasing their influence in the market. However, ‘Socar’ says that it is asking too much for the deposit which has no legal reasons. In fact, high-class taxis can operate autonomously as long as they obtain license permits.
Sung Tae-yoon, an economics professor at Yonsei University, said, "Giving opportunities to new industries that satisfy consumers’ needs and lowering entry barriers is desirable," adding, "Conflicts among interested parties is inevitable, but consideration for consumers should come first." The parties' attitude toward co-prosperity and the government's active reform would be the keys to enable various transportation services to coexist. Let's hope the government and the parties will continue to communicate to pave the way for transportation for consumers.
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