Kakao T signs MOU with premium taxi service

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Kakao T signs MOU with premium taxi service

Kakao Mobility is partnering with premium taxi provider Tago Solutions to improve customer service quality and drivers’ income levels.

The move comes as tensions continue to boil over with much of the taxi industry fiercely protesting the company’s carpooling business.

On Thursday, Kakao’s mobility subsidiary announced that it signed an MOU with Tago Solutions, a company co-established by some 50 taxi companies and 5,000 taxi drivers last September with the goal of offering distinguished and premium taxi services like pet-friendly options.

Tago hit headlines last month for requesting the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s approval to offer Korea’s first women-only taxi services. The service, dubbed Waygo Lady, will only allow female drivers and customers.

Kakao is expected to give customers the option to choose Tago’s services via the Kakao T taxi-hailing app.

“We hope to create an environment where drivers are friendly and do not refuse customers,” Kakao added in a statement. One of Tago’s stated missions is to accept all customers regardless of destination. Though refusing customers is illegal in Korea, some drivers still do it if the requested destination is unprofitable.

Kakao is also hoping to improve drivers’ working environment with Tago. The premium services, which are expected to come at a premium price, will improve drivers’ income levels while the services for women will provide new opportunities for female taxi drivers - a minority in Korea.

The move comes as many other taxi drivers and unions are boycotting Kakao for its plan to launch a carpooling service that potentially threatens the taxi industry. A Kakao spokesman said the company and Tago are on good terms and have been working on the partnership for months.

Ahead of launching the premium services, Kakao said it will focus on developing technology that will allow for the seamless matching of users to taxis, while Tago will focus on training and educating drivers to provide high quality services.

BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]
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