Self-employed taxi drivers reject agreement on carpool service
SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- A group of Seoul-based taxi drivers expressed its opposition Friday to the latest agreement reached between taxi businesses and the government allowing app-based carpooling during commute hours.
A hundred self-employed taxi drivers held a press conference and protest rally near the ruling Democratic Party headquarters in western Seoul to voice their rejection of the deal.
"We respect their efforts, but the agreement turns the sacrifices by those who took their own lives into nothing," a representative told media. "We reject the rash decision."
The move comes a day after a taxi drivers' association, the government and Kakao Mobility agreed to permit carpooling services from 7-9 a.m. and 6-8 p.m., with weekends and holidays to be excluded.
Taxi associations have been strongly opposed to the introduction of carpooling services by Kakao Mobility, the operator of South Korea's largest taxi-hailing app, claiming it will put their business in jeopardy.
A few taxi drivers died in protest by setting themselves on fire.
"Seoul would be the most affected area once the carpool app gets launched," the representative said. "It is inevitable that we refuse," he added.
Kakao Mobility sought to officially launch its carpool app, Kakao T, around late last year, but the company has delayed it over the deaths of taxi drivers and fierce industry opposition.
Later, the company decided to temporarily suspend the pilot operation of its carpool services and to take part in the dialogue body.
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