Transport ministry exceptionally exempts regulation to nurture innovative taxi-hailing services

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : April 7, 2020, 15:47 | Updated : April 7, 2020, 15:47

[Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government]



SEOUL -- Regulations were exempted for six mobility companies in a government move to nurture new innovative services that would meet the demand of consumers after Tada, a smartphone-based ride-hailing service run by a pioneer in South Korea's mobility service market, hit a snag due to opposition in parliament.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said Tuesday that it has approved the test operation of six mobility service companies including Kakao Mobility, the mobility service wing of South Korea's web service giant Kakao, and KST Mobility, the operator of taxi-hailing service Macaron Taxi.

A regulatory sandbox exempts regulations on new products or services for a certain period of time so that companies can develop and demonstrate new technologies. Last year, the government's regulatory sandbox council approved the establishment of four hydrogen charging stations

"We will make the full use of the regulatory sandbox so that people can feel the change created by innovation in mobility services," Eo Myeong-soo, a transport ministry official, was quoted as saying.

The ministry exempted regulations, allowing drivers to make their shifts outside their designated taxi company garage to provide drivers more flexibility with their working hours. Drivers were allowed to temporarily carry passengers before their licenses are officially issued.

Unlike ordinary taxis that pick customers in their favor to make more money, the mobility services chosen by the transport ministry only provide drivers with the geographical location of customers so that they would accept every taxi-hailing call. Some companies included in the sandbox program provide reservation services.

Tada, a local ride-hailing service that utilizes large-sized multi-purpose vans, will end its service on April 10 after the National Assembly passed a revised law that prohibits the operation of vehicles driven without a taxi driver's license. Tada got into trouble due to angry protests by taxi drivers

South Korea's ride-sharing and car-hailing services remained stagnant due to strong objection by taxi drivers who have complained about low income, excessive work and poor working conditions.
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