3:33 pm - 01/10/2019

Cab Driver Dies After Self-Immolation Protesting Kakao Carpool Service

In the midst of heightened tensions between the country’s taxi union, information technology market players and the government over ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, a taxi driver surnamed Lim, 65, died early Thursday morning after setting himself on fire to protest the launch of Kakao’s carpool service, police said.

Lim’s death is expected to further fuel conflict between the concerned parties, who have locked horns since a similar incident last month involving another taxi driver, 57, who also died after setting himself on fire in protest.

So far the taxi industry has held three major protests, with about 100,000 taxi drivers gathering Yeouido, Seoul, in late December as part of a mass protest opposing Kakao’s carpooling service.

In a four-page note, Lim expressed “deep resentment toward Kakao Mobility” and said the taxi business was struggling, according to police.

Lim was taken to a nearby hospital after setting himself alight Wednesday evening in front of Gwanghwamun Station near Subway Line No. 5, Exit No. 2, but he died early Thursday morning.

With anger building up among cab drivers, President Moon Jae-in said “parties with differing views need to reach a social compromise” with an open attitude.

“Despite changing economic and social conditions in the ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ every now and then there seem to be times when old values are insisted (upon),” Moon said during his New Year’s news conference Thursday.

To resolve the deepening dispute, the ruling Democratic Party of Korea formed a task force and a board consisting of the heads of four taxi organizations.

Those efforts, however, hit a snag after representatives of the taxi organizations refused to cooperate unless the government banned carpooling services.

Korea’s Passenger Transport Service Act prohibits the use of private and unlicensed vehicles for commercial use except during commuting hours.

Due to the ambiguity of the term “commuting hours,” the commercial use of privately owned cars is currently not allowed.

With wide expectations of a fourth rally next week, an emergency committee formed by the four taxi unions has urged President Moon to resolve the matter.

“The ruling party and President Moon Jae-in have turned their backs on powerless taxi drivers. They should step forward and guarantee taxi drivers’ survival to prevent third and fourth immolations,” the emergency committee said in a press briefing held in front of the National Assembly, before heading to Cheong Wa Dae for a meeting with Kang Moon-dae, the presidential secretary for social coordination.

As a child to a taxi driver, it's disheartening to see that more people are relying on them less thanks to companies such as Uber, Lyft, and other "pay upfront" car services.

Source: Korea Herald
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juhli 10th-Jan-2019 08:37 pm (UTC)
I'm shocked, I didn't know that the situation was so serious. May he rest in peace and may the conflict be solved as soon as possible :-(
921227 10th-Jan-2019 08:45 pm (UTC)
Ive read about this conflict in the US -- i didnt realize it was an issue in other countries as well.

Ive never lived in an area where taxis were a thing & have never done rideshare so i dont know all the ins and outs of the conflict but is it really that big that setting yourself on fire to protest is apt?
modestgoddess79 10th-Jan-2019 08:55 pm (UTC)
I've never used a ride sharing service cause I'm paranoid but I know plenty of people who use them. I do use Super Shuttle which is similar to a taxi but they drive a van and only go to/from the airport. Technology changes, things change and certain jobs become less popular. Somewhere a type writer manufacturer has lost their job cause we got computers. It's not worth dying over. It sucks but you have to adjust.

Edited at 2019-01-10 08:57 pm (UTC)
myrrhcat 11th-Jan-2019 02:25 am (UTC)
thing is, the death of typewriters brought something of even greater value, computers. ppl could and did make a living off them. but services like uber are designed to funnel all the money to the top; it's next to impossible to even survive with uber driving as your only income. there are full-time taxi drivers but very few full-time uber drivers as far as i know, and there are no benefits or job security either. it's replacing a full-fledged (albeit flawed) business with a scam.
baekpedaling 10th-Jan-2019 09:25 pm (UTC)
I literally just got my driver's license today at 26. If I didn't have a ride I have to use uber or lyft, we don't have taxis in my town and only just got some kind of bus system maybe 3 years ago.

Hope they come to a comprise and no one else sets themself on fire
daynr 10th-Jan-2019 10:08 pm (UTC)
It's really sad that he did this to himself.

It don't think the union is taking the correct track here.
jasmineakaiumi 10th-Jan-2019 10:25 pm (UTC)
when I lived in Korea I was ecstatic when I started using the Kakao service, because my friends could track my location (I'm very paranoid and nervous around men because of so many reasons), I could see a picture of the driver, get all of the license plate numbers etc. and it felt more regulated than regular taxis because of the rating system?

whereas with regular taxis I had them attempt to scam me so many times because I'm a foreigner, have had several drivers be watching tv while in the car with full screens on the dashboard, and the worst case was a smelly handkerchief and what looked like girl's panties in the door...needless to say I got out of that one as soon as we were at a red light.
modestgoddess79 11th-Jan-2019 05:04 pm (UTC)
I've also heard stories of foreign women being molested by cab drivers
sciencebottle 10th-Jan-2019 11:03 pm (UTC)
I can see both sides. Unfortunately my opinion of taxis are not very good (after many scary experiences, many of which felt like a breach of my safety) so I....think i'm team rideshare. but I hope that the two industries can come to a compromise.

May the driver RIP :(

Edited at 2019-01-10 11:04 pm (UTC)
fadeintoyou 10th-Jan-2019 11:19 pm (UTC)

May he RIP and may both sides come to an agreeable resolution.

I’m really not for one or the other. I’ve used both taxis and rideshare depending on where I’m at and convenience. Sometimes it’s easier to grab a taxi rather than rideshare and vice versa.

ashdevilrun23 10th-Jan-2019 11:59 pm (UTC)
that's a horrible way to die rip :(
taxi's cost so much more than uber here i usually take the bus but if i have to go somewhere fast i take uber. It's cheaper and i'm a student. all this conflict is very sad and it's happening in every country rn
premonitioner 11th-Jan-2019 12:16 am (UTC)
God, that's awful. I rarely use taxis and ride share services anymore (plus I had my uber account removed with that whole Tr*mp debacle) but when I did, rideshare services were just much more reliable than taxis. I think that taxi services unfortunately have to change how they do business to survive, ESPECIALLY Korean taxi drivers.

I've never felt more unsafe in a car than I did the three times I rode in a Korean taxi. The first time was when I first lived in Korea. A taxi driver approached me IN the airport, and my jet lagged, head cold-addled mind didn't immediately think 'oh you probably shouldn't go with this strange man that doesn't have a taxi at the taxi stand'. He overcharged me, and drove so dangerously, I was thrown around the back of his car bc there were no seat belts.

Second and third time I had gone out clubbing and the subways were finished, and again the drivers broke speed limits and threw me and my friends around the back with their seats. At least they had seat belts.
sheisagentleman 11th-Jan-2019 12:21 am (UTC)

to be honest, i never use local taxis (just Uber) because i don't feel safe in them, they're known in my city to take longer routes to charge you extra and also i don't carry much cash.

kenziekinz09 11th-Jan-2019 12:23 am (UTC)
I have empathy for taxi drivers who aren’t able to make a decent living now that rideshare is popular, but it’s no secret that taxis in major cities don’t like to pick up black people or drive to black neighborhoods. In my area they’re so exorbitantly expensive and the drivers are generally rude/unsafe.
jaelissi 11th-Jan-2019 11:29 am (UTC)
I'm black, but not American. Why is not picking up black people such a thing? What are the reasons they give?
rainstormraider 11th-Jan-2019 12:59 am (UTC)
I feel for the taxicab industry but I still prefer Uber and Lyft because you know the price upfront and the drivers aren’t usually obnoxious. I have too many bad experiences with cab drivers to ever prefer taxis.
love_keiko 11th-Jan-2019 02:37 am (UTC)
i prefer carpooling, taxis are expensive in NYC especially if you get stuck in traffic. sometimes you'll get a cab that smells like straight up piss bc they'll pee in their cars-- that's how intense the business is.

i dont need that shit.

and tbh, past a certain time at night and depending what neighborhood i was in, being black and trying to flag a cab was actually a huge problem. there'd be times when my friends and i would have car after car drive past us to pick up white passengers.

so while i can empathize with how carpooling services undercut their pay, i'm way more comfortable in an uber or lyft than i ever was in a taxi.
kenziekinz09 11th-Jan-2019 12:48 pm (UTC)
Same sis. I don’t even try to get cabs anymore.
cosmicdaze 11th-Jan-2019 04:49 am (UTC)
i used taxis a lot in korea but only because i was with my native korean friend and i knew i wouldn't get scammed. a lot of the time we just hailed one on the street but we also used kakao taxi. i've had few bad experiences w korean taxis but when they're bad they're BAD. i've genuinely feared for my life at some points because some drivers drive so recklessly

if i'm ever in a city where uber is available (like la or my own smaller city) i use uber a lot
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