Web-based taxi firm Uber must register all drivers under government

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One click of a button is all that is needed to connect to Uber, a web-based taxi firm founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009. The company connects the customer to personal drivers, just like a regular taxi, but more convenient. Since its establishment, the company has become popular worldwide, currently available in 55 countries and more than 250 cities. Despite its prevalence, the company is in violation of transportation laws and its questionable passenger safety in many countries, including Korea and Japan. As these problems remain unresolved, the company has been sued or even filed lawsuits against in numerous regions. In order for it to operate without such legal restraints, it needs to register all of its drivers under the government transportation commission.

Uber’s primary issue in Korea lies in its infraction of the Passenger Transport Service Act, which states that one cannot use a private car to provide taxi services, for such act is impossible to regulate and will most likely lead to an unfair advantage over local taxi drivers. Directly contradicting this law is one of the company’s three branches, Uber X, which allows any driver to use their private vehicle to provide taxi services without earning a government-issued taxi license.

Uber is also burdened with public concern regarding passenger safety. In New Delhi, India, for instance, an Uber driver was alleged to have raped a woman on Dec. 5, 2014, and is currently waiting for verdict. Although such safety violations have not occurred yet in Korea, the loose background checks of its drivers made such crime an imminent possibility, or so deemed the Korean government, which took action against this risk by banning Uber X on March 12.

As of now, the government is justified to ban Uber X; it has not only violated Korea’s transportation laws, but has also ignored the government by entering the Korean market when the government had already pre-determined its service to be illegal. The only way to surely ward off these political and social issues is for Uber to license all of its drivers under the government’s transportation commission. Doing so will invalidate the claim that the company does not have the licensing and certification needed to provide taxi services in Korea, and will place on Uber drivers the same standards for safety and responsibility as local taxi drivers.

Registering all Uber drivers under the government will also significantly alleviate the public concern regarding passenger safety. Knowing that their drivers have been thoroughly checked by the government and have earned their taxi licenses, customers will feel much safer when riding an Uber cab.

Regardless of whether Uber is allowed to operate in Korea or not, it will nonetheless find a way to expand its business, as it has demonstrated through its tremendous growth in the past six years. However, if the company does not find a creative way to tackle its political and social problems, it will never be able to work in harmony with numerous countries that share the social issues as Korea. If Uber wants to expand into a true global business in which it is welcomed in countries—not banned—it must take appropriate measures by registering all of its drivers under the government.