Following its release of Kakao Pay, an e-payment service, Daum Kakao launched a new application KakaoTaxi on April 1, aiming to provide its 37 million users with a safer and faster way to call taxis. Such projects appear to be in alignment to the company’s bigger agenda to integrate both online and offline services, according to the Korea Times. Although it is too early to conclude the success of the service, Daum Kakao officials confirmed that the application had run without problems since its launch.
“Although I haven’t used KakaoTaxi yet, I think that the application will revolutionize the world of transportation if it is able to provide a cheap and comfortable environment for foreigners,” said Peter Kahl, Administrator for Instructional Services. “Although I currently use a transportation called Uber, the cost of the rides are its main disadvantages, and therefore I would be much willing to use KakaoTaxi if it was able to provide cheaper services.”
Unlike other taxi-calling services that were banned by the South Korean government, KakaoTaxi has gained its permission since it complies with the Korean traffic laws regarding official taxi-driving licenses and their registration. In further contrast to similar services, KakaoTaxi also enables users to send their locations continually to their parents and friends during the entire ride. The security factor was a major aspect that differentiated it from a variety of other major taxi providers.
“The biggest problem Uber and other such taxi-calling services had in the past, was their hiring policies, which warranted security concerns,” said William Son (10), Future Business Leader America (FBLA) member. “I think that Daum Kakao utilizing its communication features in its most famous application KakaoTalk was a very innovative idea in guaranteeing the safety of passengers in taxis.”
On the other hand, traditional taxi drivers have criticized KakaoTaxi, according to the Korea Times. The drivers mainly raised issues about the effectiveness of the service, as they questioned the worthiness of KakaoTaxi when the demands for call-taxi services are not high in general. In addition, there were instances of GPS failure that caused 10-minute delays. KakaoTaxi will also have to continue distinguishing itself from other taxi-calling applications such as We-Chat, Easy Taxi, and San Francisco based startup Shuddle in order for long-lasting success.