The definition of ‘Carpool’ is when a group of people who travel together, typically to work or school, usually in a different member’s car each day. However, in South Korea, carpool is synonymous with ‘Uber’ in the United States. When a passenger requests a ride from a driver, the passenger pre pays the fare before they ride along. A carpool is made immediately when the requester has a similar destination to where the car owner wishes to go.
The taxi industry and nearly 100,000 taxi drivers revolted nationwide against the launch of the Kakao carpool. Due to the sudden startup of carpool service, taxi operators called for a withdrawal of Kakao carpool because their incomes would be reduced.
This is not the first time of such carpool services in this country. There have been companies that tried to establish carpools services like Kakao. Uber, which is actively being commercialized in the United States, was also introduced in Korea in June 2013. At that time, the taxi industry strongly opposed against the carpool service which made it to an end in only a year. This case, it is quite different from Uber. In 2013, people weren’t familiar with such services made by using their smartphone. These days, most people call a cab by using an application called 'Kakao Taxi'. This is the reason why over 95% of taxi drivers use the application even though a certain amount of commission is imposed upon the driver. For this reason, it is worth questioning whether taxi drivers will be able to deter Kakao’s carpool service since they are already aware of the power the company has in the transportation industry.
Carpool is mainly targeted at specific groups such as business workers. In fact, when asked about carpool service, approximately 90% of the workers in South Korea were in favor of carpool. Kakao’s goal is to provide a variety of options for passengers by providing a means of transportation in times of heavy traffic. People in favor of carpool show positive attitude towards carpool system because of the monopoly of the taxi industry in transportation which allows drivers to refuse passengers and show unkindness. Kakao claims that carpool is a global trend and that South Korea is behind the worldwide trend. Workers complain that it is almost impossible to call a cab for short distances because taxis can locate the passenger’s destination when the ride is requested.They say that it would be really useful if carpools were operated at times when the demand for taxis are high like during rush hour. The Kakao claims that workers are not able to catch a cab after work, and over 80% of the taxi calls aren’t matched due to lack of supply of taxis.
On the other hand, those who oppose Kakao carpool express concerns over the possibility of crimes that could happen. Carpools inevitably make it difficult to identify the drivers, thereby reducing the driver's reliability. In fact, in the case of China, there have been crimes such as murders by those who abuse this system. Therefore, they say that the introduction of carpool is premature.
In order to overcome these problems, taxi drivers should try not to think only of their own interests but also remember the discomfort of citizens. It is important to realize that the ultimate factor in buying hatreds from the citizens is that some taxi drivers are unkind and refuse to accept passengers.
|Kakao’s main goal is to provide a variety of transportation options.|
Jeong Seung-in, reporter email@example.com
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