SEOUL – A joint venture between U.S. ride-sharing operator Uber and T Map, the mobility services wing of South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom, has launched a new ride-sharing service. The new mobility service will compete with Kakao T, the country’s most popular mobility service application operated by web services giant Kakao.
UT said at a press conference on November 1 that the existing Uber app has been integrated with the UT app. Passengers can use UT services in South Korea and use the same app for other local carpooling services when traveling abroad. Through the app, South Korean consumers can use both Uber’s taxi service and limousine service. UT app can automatically translate messages so everyone can use the app without language barriers. The company will increase the number of franchise taxis to 20,000 by 2022.
UT also plans to adopt a pre-defined payment system that will calculate a pre-departure charge based on the customer’s destination. The customer can pay the predefined charges regardless of the actual time spent in the taxi. However, the charges could be recalculated if unexpected situations such as traffic jam caused by an accident occur.
Uber introduced a car-sharing service in Seoul in 2013 but suspended it two years later due to strong protests from taxi drivers. In 2016, Uber launched its premium taxi service, Uber Black, in Seoul, hiring existing taxi drivers who drive their own vehicles and allowing them to pick up passengers using the Uber mobile app. .
Government data showed that there were around 270,000 taxis in South Korea in 2019. Taxi drivers in Seoul work an average of 12 hours a day and earn around 2.15 million won ($ 1,911) per day. month.
Kakao Mobility, the mobility services wing of South Korean web services giant Kakao, operates one of the country’s most popular mobility applications called “Kakao T”. Kakao Mobility has currently secured some 26,000 franchise taxis. The service chain also offers a parking reservation service and a public transport information service. Kakao T had around 5.8 million monthly active users in 2020.
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