updated 07:09 am EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
South Korean capital aims to stop Uber over unregistered taxi services
South Korean capital Seoul could potentially ban Uber in the city, in favor of its own still-in-development app. The city government advised that it would try to ban the car-hailing app, as current South Korean law makes it illegal to provide any sort of fee-based transportation service via privately-owned vehicles not registered to do so with local authorities.
The Wall Street Journal reports the city is working on its own similar app for registered cabs, allowing users to see the locations of nearby rides and driver ratings, and is aiming for launch in December. The city's government has previously requested for police to investigate Uber, and though this stopped over a "lack of evidence," the city is asking for the inquiry to continue. One Uber driver has already been caught by the city in April, and received a fine of 1 million won ($975) for driving a rented car for unregistered taxi-related purposes.
Uber supplied a statement to the report, claiming "Comments like these show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global 'sharing economy' movement." The statement goes on to deny any illegality, pointing out that it "connects drivers with passengers" and doesn't operate its own taxi service.
Seoul is far from the first to cry foul over Uber's practices, typically in an attempt to protect the incomes of incumbent taxi services. Late last year, France applied a law which forced app-based car services to wait for 15 minutes before picking up hailing passengers, a delay not applicable to standard taxis. Cab drivers in London have also protested over app-based driver services, with one trade group heading to the courts to put a stop to the app.