S. Korean govt to allow limited ride-sharing for chartered buses

2019.01.10 13:56:04 | 2019.01.10 13:56:37

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Ride-sharing concept will become available for chartered buses in South Korea under the government’s push to enhance sharing economy business, an area Korea has been lagging behind.

But given the traditional industry’s vehement resistance to the sharing concept, how much the service can actually pan out remains questionable.

The government announced a change in transport regulation after a meeting chaired by Hong Nam-ki, deputy prime minister for economy and finance minister, to allow a private business to recruit people who will share ride on a charted bus through online or mobile platform, which has been illegal in the country until the change.

The government made authoritative interpretation on the law to allow the bus-sharing business on condition that it doesn’t disturb the existing bus industry and operates on a non-regular basis.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport expects the change would enhance convenience of people traveling rural areas where public transportation is usually intermittent. But sharing economy advocates criticized the government’s efforts have fallen short of expectations by preventing the service in Seoul and surrounding areas that have high demand.

The latest change comes at a time that the government is under attack from both sharing economy advocates and traditional transportation businesses for failing to come up with win-win solutions for both industries.

Kakao Corp., the country’s largest messenger app operator, has put off the launch of its full-fledged carpool service after the country’s die-hard taxi industry that has so far defeated Uber and numerous other ride-sharing services although restricted ride-sharing is already legal in Korea has strongly protested against the service and is demanding the government to turn down the license for Kakao’s ride-sharing service.

The latest change also included a measure to lift restrictions on zones for pick-up and drop-off of ride-sharing vehicles in Sejong administrative city and Busan Metropolitan city. Currently, the car sharing service is subject to a law related to rental car business, so users should pick up and drop off the cars in only designated zones.

By Lee Sun-hee and Choi Mira

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]