Taxi drivers turn out for another Tada protest

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Taxi drivers turn out for another Tada protest

Thousands of taxi drivers gathered outside the National Assembly in western Seoul on Wednesday, urging the government to halt operations of ride-hailing platform Tada as the dispute between taxi drivers and the mobility start-up continues.

Taxi drivers, occupying roads next to the National Assembly, held signs that read “Tada OUT,” claiming that the company is operating illegally by skirting transportation laws.

“[We] strongly condemn Tada, which is causing disorder in the transportation industry and the labor market and ask for legal proposals to ban its operations,” said the Seoul Private Taxi Association, which organized the protest, in a statement.

According to a spokesperson for the group, 12,500 taxi drivers were present at the demonstration.

Taxi drivers have argued that existing laws forbid rented cars from offering paid transportation services, a key part of Tada’s business model.

Lawmakers who support the taxi industry plan to introduce a bill that would outright ban the ride-hailing service.

The protest follows the company’s announcement earlier this month that it would increase the number of its vehicles to 10,000 from the current 1,400, sparking tensions after the government had seemed to reach a resolution over the brewing conflict in July. The company has since backtracked on its plans, saying that it will make expansions at the end of the year when the government reform plan for the services is expected to be finalized.

The government’s proposal officially recognized some new mobility services while also giving the government control over the number of taxis that could be operated by the service providers. Tada operator VCNC has expressed disapproval of the plan.

VCNC said in a statement Wednesday, hours before the planned protest, that more discussions are needed with taxi organizations before the reform plan is introduced by the end of this year.

Tada has rapidly grown since its launch last October.

According to the company, it saw an average of more than 10,000 users per month and drove a total of 35.5 million kilometers (20.8 million miles) over the past year.

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