Seoul's taxi drivers urged parliament to make a new law to ban a rapidly growing ride-hailing service called Tada during a massive rally in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido Wednesday.
According to the Seoul Taxi Association, about 15,000 taxi drivers attended the outdoor rally to protest against the business expansion plan of Tada, an app-based van-hailing service operated by mobility startup Value Creators & Company, and to call for parliamentary efforts to block the service.
The taxi drivers issued a statement condemning the Tada service as illegal.
"The National Assembly, the government and Cheong Wa Dae have been negligent in resolving conflicts between taxi drivers and new mobility platforms, despite a taxi driver's self-immolation and other tragic incidents. In the meantime, illegal mobility operations by rental cars have proliferated," said the statement.
"Under the current law, mobility services by rental cars are banned except for the tourism industry. Tada and other mobility platforms cannot be justified legally or socially," it said, asking the government and parliament to make a new law against Tada to help preserve the ecology of the local transportation industry.
Independent lawmaker Kim Kyung-jin and Rep. Park Hong-geun of the ruling Democratic Party, who have pushed for a bill to ban Tada's ride-hailing service, participated in the Yeouido rally.
Seoul taxi drivers have been angered by VCNC's Oct. 7 announcement of a plan to raise the number of its vans to 10,000 from the current 1,400 and that of contract drivers to 50,000 from 9,000 by the end of 2020. They fear the rapid expansion of the ride-hailing service will seriously threaten their livelihoods.
The taxi drivers held a series of protest rallies in front of the ruling party headquarters, the Seoul Regional Employment and Labor Office and other locations in Seoul last week.
As the government reacted negatively to its announcement, VCNC said last week that it will temporarily suspend its fleet expansion plan and actively participate in the government-organized debate on restructuring the taxi industry. (Yonhap)