It's no secret that not everyone loves Uber. While some urban users rave about the car hailing and ride-sharing mobile app, not all cities share the sentiment -- with some even banning the service.
And now Seoul, the capital of South Korea, says it will create its own version of the app -- while declaring that the original app is illegal, the Wall Street Journal reports:
The local authority said in a statement that Uber is illegal under South Korean law, which forbids fee-paying transport services using private or rented motor vehicles unregistered with the authorities.
The city added that it will launch in December an app that will provide similar features to Uber for official taxis, such as geo-location data on cabs nearby, information about them and their drivers, as well as ratings.
Seoul doesn't seem to be trying to replicate the ride-sharing features of Uber -- rather, it's creating a similar digital structure to the company's car hailing service, Uber Black, to organize registered taxis. And it's unclear just how successful Seoul's app will be. While the city is generally thought of as among the most modern in the world, Uber has had a five-year head start and has data from cities around the world to refine its offerings.
A Seoul-based Uber spokesperson denied that the app violated local law in a statement to the WSJ and said the city's comments "show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global ‘sharing economy’ movement."
Uber launched in Seoul last August, but it hasn't all been smooth driving. According to the WSJ, the city issued a $974 fine against a driver using a rented car in April. The next month, the city asked the police to investigate the company, but the probe was suspended due to lack of evidence. Seoul is now asking the police to reopen the inquiry.
Taxi drivers in Europe and the United States have also protested the services. But while European cities and even U.S. states have moved to stop some Uber operations in their jurisdiction, the company hasn't always complied. In Virginia, Uber has committed to continue service despite receiving a cease and desist letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles.