As the opposition to carpooling services by taxi operators is heating up here, prominent startups are against such moves to stall disruptive technologies that benefit customers.
“I think it’s probably just some taxi drivers, but please stop harassing companies in a new industry with different standards,” Lee Jae-woong, founder and CEO of mobility company SoCar, wrote on Facebook on Feb. 18 in response to a lawsuit filed by taxi drivers.
On Feb. 11, nine taxi drivers including officials from the Seoul Private Taxi Association filed a lawsuit against Lee and Park Jae-uk, CEO of VCNC, a ride-hailing subsidiary of SoCar that operates Tada, for violating the Passenger Transport Service Act, which the taxi industry is using to stop Kaka Mobility’s service Kakao Carpool.
Lee warned that he is considering filing a countersuit against them for false accusations and obstruction of business.
“Their legal action is groundless as Tada has been confirmed legal by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Seoul Municipal Government,” he said.
Korea bans passenger cars from being used for commercial purposes with an exception for minivans and during the peak commute hours.
VCNC operates Tada, launched in October, with 11-seat minivans and outsourced drivers to be compatible with the laws.
The legal suit came as the taxi industry is targeting Kakao Carpool. Facing fierce opposition from the taxi industry, Kakao Mobility in January said it has put the service on hold indefinitely while they continue to negotiate with the taxi industry.
“We have no intention of stealing the taxi market,” Lee wrote. “Our goal is to create a new mobility market by decreasing car ownership,” adding that his company is discussing cooperation with many taxi drivers and companies.
By Park Ga-young (email@example.com)