South Korean officials in Seoul have rejected a proposal by Uber for a registration system, saying that it’s in conflict with government policy.
This is a continuation of the hard stance the government has taken with the online cab-hailing service including offering upwards of $9,000 in rewards to citizens that report Uber’s illegal activities..
Seoul is already hard at work trying to ease the saturated taxi market, and fears in the government are that by adopting a registration system, it would simply intensify competition by flooding the market with more consumer options, thus threatening the survival of the existing cab drivers This according to a statement by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Thursday.
The ministry called services like Uber Black and Uber X “clearly illegal,” and that both are ignoring local laws by continuing services offered by drivers using privately-owned cars or rented vehicles.
“The Ministry along with the Seoul city will continue to strongly regulate Uber and file suit for any illegal activities,” it said. The government is working to pass a bill in parliament to ban online ride summoning services like Uber’s, it added.
Uber Korea had no immediate response to the government’s decision.
Uber has offered to develop systems with Korea that would make the system, which is popular in many large cities worldwide, in line with policy. Such systems have already been implemented in locations such as New York, Los Angeles and London, the company said.
In December, Korea filed a criminal charge against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for flouting local transportation laws. If found guilty, Kalanick could face up to two years in prison, although he has never appeared in the country to be detained by the authorities.