S. Korean startup launches beta version of ride-hailing service: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-10-08 17:40 Updated : 2018-10-08 17:40
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A VCNC official speaks about a new ride-hailing service. [Aju News Photo]

SEOUL -- South Korean mobility startup VCNC said Monday it has launched a new ride-hailing service in Seoul and an adjacent city with 11-seat vans in a move to get around a local transportation law.

VCNC said hundreds of its passenger vans offer a service called Tada in Seoul and Incheon, home to South Korea's main gateway Incheon International Airport, at a price about 20 percent higher than the usual taxi fares. The company has outsourced drivers for the service, and its vans can carry up to five passengers for their convenience.

Users can get access to the service -- which is being run on a trial basis -- via its mobile application. The company did not provide a specific time frame for officially launching the service.

"Tada is a platform that can create mobility innovation together with the existing industry," VCNC CEO Park Jae-uk said during a press conference in Seoul. "We hope to generate new demands for various players in the industry." Park said the company's experience of handling vast quantities of data will enable the new service to find a balance between supply and demand.

The launch of Tada marks VCNC's first move since it was wholly purchased by SoCar, South Korea's leading car-sharing service provider, in July. Launched in 2011, VCNC is the operator of a mobile messenger for couples called Between, which has been downloaded 26 million times globally.

In South Korea, taxi drivers are vocal opponents against mobility services that connect customers with ordinary drivers who do not have commercial taxi licenses. In 2015, Uber's flagship ride-sharing service, Uber X, was banned because it conflicted with the local transportation law.

South Korea's passenger transport service act stipulates that "no person who rents a commercial motor vehicle from a car rental business entity, shall use such motor vehicle for transport with compensation or sublet the motor vehicle to any third party, and no person shall arrange such activities." Still, vans, which have between 11 and 15 seats, are exempt from the act.