February 26, 2015 12:25
Uber made its UberX service free on Wednesday afternoon as the company struggles to gain permission to sell its services here. UberX allows any driver without a taxi license to give a ride to app users in Seoul.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has cracked down on Uber, which it regards as an illegal operation.
Allen Penn, who heads Uber's North Asia operations, said Wednesday, "We want to actively work towards a consensus, and the first step to that process is switching off the fare."
The aim is to "reduce the negative impact on its drivers and their partners and to protect them from an anti-ridesharing ordinance by the city."
Uber did not reveal how many cars exactly have signed up with Uber in Seoul and how long the free service will be offered. The company will reimburse drivers who offer the free service.
Since it is the money-making aspect that the city government objects to, it seems the firm is trying to avoid crackdown and buy time. Uber Korea said its goal is to find a solution to the legal aspects, continue to negotiate with the city government, and eventually make its operation profitable within legal boundaries.
Uber was founded in the U.S. in 2009 and currently operates in over 290 cities in 54 countries.
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