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Taxi Drivers Infuriated: Protests Erupt in Downtown Seoul over Launching of Carpooling Service

Taxi Drivers Infuriated: Protests Erupt in Downtown Seoul over Launching of Carpooling Service
The Siliconreview
20 Decemebr, 2018

Scores of South Korean taxi drivers on Thursday held a protest rally in the capital city Seoul’s downtown area against a carpooling service, which, as per them, will destroy their jobs.

“If the service is implemented, my income will shrink by half. I will fall into poverty,” said driver Yoon Woo-seok, 62, at the rally in front of the National Assembly.

The car-pooling service called Kakao Mobility is a unit of mobile messenger operator Kakao Corp.

According to a report published by Reuters, a taxi driver had set himself ablaze in protest against plans to introduce the car-pooling service, which further fuelled the anger and resulted in a mass rally.

Chanting “combat illegal carpool”, the protesters were seen wearing black headbands and ribbons to mourn the death of their colleague.

After the death of the taxi driver, Kakao, as of now, postponed the launch of its service.

“We will have continued consultations with the industry, parliament and the government,” the company said. The company was quoted as saying.

According to the report, the protesters saidthat they are already reeling under low incomes and long hours.

“My entire family is scraping a living on my tiny income,” said another driver, Lee Nam-soo, 67.“There’s no way I can survive if Kakao operates.”

The protests disrupted traffic, hence stranded commuters. The traffic was disrupted mainly due to some taxis temporarily blocking road links leading to a highway in the central city of Daejeon.