The first trial for van-hailing app service Tada ended with a ruling declaring SoCar CEO Lee Jae-woong and VNC CEO Park Jae-wook, who had been indicted for violating the Passenger Transport Service Act, as non-guilty. Tada is a van-hailing mobile application service that provides driver in a 11-seater van. Prosecutors indicted the CEOs on grounds that the business was running its service as an illegal call-taxi service without proper licenses, while Tada asserted that its business was legitimate as a legal rental car service. Though the final ruling remains to be determined, the first trial’s ruling signals a meaningful turning point for the shared economy, a key part of the fourth industrial revolution.
The court’s ruling has removed Tada’s image as an illegal service, but it appears that shared car service has a long way to go before it is socially accepted. This is because the National Assembly amended the Passenger Transport Act a few months ago, which passed the Standing Committee. The revised act requires car-sharing businesses to pay social contribution funds and obtain a “platform business license.”
The introduction of new services in accordance with technology advancement and its collusion with existing framework as well as workers and businesses can be commonly found across all areas of innovation. However, it would not be proper to view opponents as obstacles to future business or scapegoats.
The court’s latest ruling should be an opportunity to provide domestic consumers’ access to car sharing service, which is widespread across the U.S., China and South East Asia. We need to foster a business environment that encourages the growth of the shared economy, as many mobility business ventures hope for.
To this end, the government should approach the issue by considering the overall benefits of the people and the advancement of future business. It is imperative that we should overhaul regulations in advance so that businesses would no longer be caught up in legal disputes and to be able to launch stable operations.