[THE INVESTOR] Korea-based riding-sharing service provider Poolus and a startup association on Nov. 8 criticized the recent legal action taken by Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Transport Ministry against its new service.
The firm had unveiled on Nov. 6 its “selected rush hour service,” designed for users who don’t commute during regular rush hours. It allows users to choose their own rush time for up to eight hours.
The following day, an official complaint was lodged with the police, saying the service violates the Passenger Transport Service Act. According to the current law, paid carpool services are allowed only for commuting hours. The authorities claim Poolus’ service is effectively allowing carpool service round-the-clock.
“Considering the purpose of the law, carpool services should be only allowed during the typical rush hours -- early mornings and early evenings from Monday through Friday,” said a Seoul City official.
A Poolus official, however, argued that the law does not stipulate the exact timeframe for rush hours, and therefore, the latest service is in accordance with the law.
The Korea Startup Forum, which has more than 115 members said in a statement that “this lawsuit is an administrative behavior that goes against the direction of the current government’s efforts to foster industries related to the fourth industrial revolution.”
“This dampens the local startup sentiments,” the statement said.
Poolus was launched in 2016 as the country’s first ride-sharing app, according to the company, and has been expanding its services across the country.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)