Better service promised by Waygo taxi venture

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Better service promised by Waygo taxi venture

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Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kim Hyun-mee speaks at a press event held Wednesday in eastern Seoul to introduce Waygo services, jointly offered by Tago Solutions and Kakao Mobility. [NEWS1]

Tago Solutions and Kakao Mobility have introduced a number of new taxi-hailing services, including Waygo Blue and Waygo Lady, with the official start scheduled for April.

Each has a unique feature. Waygo Blue cannot turn down a call-taxis in Korea will sometimes reject customers if the destination is too close. Waygo Lady is only for women.

Operations will also be innovative. Drivers will receive monthly salaries, and they will not be required to make compulsory payments to a taxi company. Payments of this sort have been blamed from the intense pressure faced by drivers.

“We believe adopting a monthly salary system for drivers is a must to generate a new type of service,” said Oh Kwang-won, head of Tago Solutions, at a press event held in eastern Seoul Wednesday. “To do so, we needed a powerful app like Kakao Mobility. We will be able to present a good service based on our expertise on driver management and technologies.”

Tago Solutions partners with 50 taxi companies.

Waygo Blue taxi drivers will be paid 2.6 million won ($2,301) a month and work a 52-hour week.

The service will connect customers with the closest taxi. In the event of a personal emergency, a driver can turn down the call - within five seconds. Those who continually hit the reject button will be warned.

Waygo Blue will improve the overall quality of the taxi experience by offering a pleasant environment and additional services, like phone-charging, according to Tago Solutions.

The premium service comes at a premium price.

Riders will have to pay 3,000 won for calling the taxi, which is higher than the normal 2,000 won in Seoul. The fee could go down when demand is low, according to Oh.

The venture currently has 100 Waygo Blue taxis with 600 trained cab drivers and is planning rapid expansion through the end of the year.

“The government will resolutely take down regulations for taxi operators and platform-based taxi-hailing service providers to be able to create a new type of transportation service,” said Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kim Hyun-mee.

Kakao Mobility CEO Jung Joo-hwan promised to provide full technological support, including deep-learning technologies and automatic payment systems, in support of Waygo.

Waygo will offer several other specialized services like Waygo Lady, Waygo Pet and Waygo Care. Waygo Lady, with taxis driven by female drivers, only accepts women. Elementary school boys are the exception.

There are currently 20 Waygo Lady cabs, with 20 trained drivers. Fees to make a reservation, which have to be made at least an hour in advance, will run anywhere from 1,000 won to 10,000 won. Waygo didn’t specify the exact fare.

Waygo Pet is a transportation service for taxi-hailers with pets, while Waygo Care is a specialized ride for the elderly struggling to move freely.


BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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