South Korea has given the green light for mobility platforms to operate legally as ride-hailing businesses.
The transport ministry on Wednesday announced a plan to legalize car-sharing mobility firms as a form of taxi business, if their drivers acquire taxi licenses, and the firms contribute a slice of their profits for societal purposes.
The ministry also said it will promote the growth of new taxi franchises, such as Waygo, and taxi-hailing services like Kakao T.
Up until now, firms like carpool platform Tada have operated using loopholes in the transport law, which banned non-taxi drivers earning profits except for those with eleven or more passengers.
With the rapid growth of such ride-hailing services, and the traditional taxi industry's fierce opposition to them, the government has been seeking ways to reach a compromise.
The government says its new plan aims to nurture the growth of diverse players and services in the taxi industry, all while protecting traditional businesses.
"The government has continued discussions with platform firms during which we again confirmed that any party should be able to compete fairly within the legal framework. The benefits must also be enjoyed by the public."
The platform companies' contributions will be used to support the traditional taxi industry and boost welfare for its drivers, such as pension payouts.
Taxi drivers have long feared new players in the market would lead to job cuts and reduced earnings.
To further stabilize their income, the government said it plans to implement a monthly salary system for taxi drivers from 2021.
It will also encourage younger people to enter the industry by easing license qualifications, and boosting pension payouts for drivers over the age of 75 who decide to retire.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.