The taxi industry is taking an opposing view of Kakao Carpool service. This is because of the fairness issue between taxi drivers and the drivers of the carpool service and the market monopoly of the conglomerate, Kakao. Of course, it is understandable that the taxi industry has strongly expressed its intention to prevent any serious damages that may occur before the carpool service starts. However, unlike the claims of the taxi industry, Kakao Carpool service has continued to pursue co-existence with the taxi industry and has made efforts to coexist. In addition, the carpool service can help solve the irrational habits that have been tolerated such as denying rides to passengers and improve the convenience of consumers. Let's take a closer look at the positive aspects of this carpool service.
First, carpool service can help avoid misdeeds that have been taken for granted among taxi drivers. The taxi industry has been criticized by consumers for its drivers often driving recklessly. To prove this claim, Yonhap News Agency reported on December 18th that more than 2,000 cases were detected in 15 days. It is the result of crackdown on violation of taxi law. In addition, a market research firm called Embrain Trend Monitor surveyed 1,000 men and women aged 19 to 59 who have used taxis in the last month. According to its result, 56.6% said that with taxi-call services, it is difficult to catch a taxi. Such indirect service problem alone does not account for most of the taxi drivers’ bad habits like denying rides to passengers. In fact, there were absurd cases in which a taxi fare was charged to each passenger if the passengers have the same destination. In contrast, carpool service can reduce the concerns about such problems because the driver’s information is fully shared to consumers. The drivers are also having strong recognitions about the problems caused by taxi drivers who did not follow the basic manners. That is, consumers' complaints about existing taxi service can be resolved by the carpool service.
Second, carpool service, which has the characteristics of a shared economy, expands consumers’ choices. In terms of cost, the base rate of a taxi has been increasing every year, putting consumers under the burden of high fares. The use of carpool service gives consumers the option to use a service at a relatively lower rate than taxi fares. For example, if you take a taxi from Yeouido to Gangnam Station, you will be charged about 16,900 won. If you travel the same distance using a carpool service, you will only be charged a fare of 12,500 won. This is about 26 percent cheaper than taxi service. On the side of the operation of cars, according to the statistic published by Kakao, the number of calls received for Kakao Taxi service during the morning rush hour amounted to about 205,000 per hour. However, only 30,000 of them were accepted. In other words, the remaining 170,000 passengers couldn’t use taxis. If these empty areas are filled with a carpool service, consumers' choice and convenience could be guaranteed. Furthermore, this position can be linked to aspects of a shared economy. A ‘shared economy’ refers to an economic model for the social sharing of goods and services. Carpool service is also a model of a shared economy in that drivers share spaces and services with someone and users can meet their needs at a lower price.
Third, Kakao Carpool seeks symbiosis with the taxi industry. The taxi industry, which opposes the carpool service, argues that it will compete with taxi service and take away taxi drivers’ right to survive in the long run. However, Kakao said it would only operate the carpool during rush hours, when there is a lack of supply of taxi services. As described above, this means Kakao Carpool service will fill the void in current commuting services and will not narrow down the taxi industry. This has also been legally proven. According to Article 81 of the Passenger Transport Business Act, it is not a problem to ride in a car with other people or even to pay for a ride for commuting. According to the Kakao Mobility Report, which has collected data from users since the launch of the Kakao Taxi service, the average distance for taxis is 8.3 kilometers per person. Kakao restricts the provision of carpool service to twice a day per person. Taking all of these factors into consideration, Kakao has estimated that the expected revenue of the carpool driver would be between 16,000 won and 20,000 won. The company also claims that it would be difficult for a driver to make more than 300,000 won per month, assuming that participation in the service for 22 days at the basic fee, and the price of consumed oil and holidays. In fact, according to Park Hyo-joo, a reporter from Money Today, whose opinion is also supported by various online reviews that have been written by people after carpool driving, the profits earned from the carpool service are mostly below the minimum hourly wage. Therefore, the right to survive of the taxi industry will not be threatened because it is difficult to take carpool as a full-time job.
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