On Jan. 4, Uber Technology’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy David Plouffe spoke to the South Korean media at a hotel in Seoul. Amidst the heated controversy over the legality of the rideshare service in South Korea, the VP visited Korea himself to amend the relationship and to propose ways to work together with the legislators and the Seoul Taxi Association.
Plouffe’s proposal entails giving the registered Uber drivers legal commercial licenses, minimum training, insurance, and background checks for any criminal records.
“We are hungry and eager to work with cities like here, and countries like Korea on modern, smart, forward-looking regulations. Uber is a new technology. It should be regulated. It should not be banned,” said Plouffe.
Plouffe also expressed Uber Technology’s strong commitment to continuing its service enforcement in South Korea, despite the legislative backlash. To make this possible, Plouffe stated that the company will remain on the side of the drivers, paying any fines charged by the Seoul City Council.
Yet, the administrators and officials from Korea continue to oppose Uber, asserting that the service pull out from Seoul immediately. Both the Seoul Private Taxi Association and the Seoul Taxi Association have strongly claimed that Uber Technology threatens Seoul taxis’ businesses, and that they have no thoughts of working together or making concessions with Uber.
Uber Technology began its services in Korea back in 2013 with Uber Black, which connects riders with luxury car services. Shortly after, the company introduced Uber X, which connects riders with private drivers, raising many heated debates over its legality and its economics impacts. Last month, the city council also announced that it will reward up to approximately $1,000 to anyone who reports illegal Uber services.
Although Uber Technology intends to keep its services in Korea, it is still unclear as to whether it will be able to survive in Seoul, Korea.