Uber's explosive growth is partly fueled by meeting some underserved needs including getting people home from nightclubs in the wee hours of the morning. With a shortage of cabs in many cities at that time, a convenient ridesharing app becomes an appealing option.
In Seoul, however, a new nighttime vanpool service named Callbus is filling this need to get late-night partygoers home safely.
A collective taxi van service, Callbus picks up groups of passengers travelling in a similar direction. Using an app, riders select their location and how many are in their party. The app directs them to a nearby pickup location and provides the Callbus driver the fastest route to get everyone to their destination.
Callbus has received strong opposition from taxi companies that don’t want the competition but, as Pop Up City reports, “[T]he Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has concluded that there is a need for an alternative service which taxis and buses cannot offer.”
As a ministry official said, “We see a rising demand for the Callbus service. The key here is to create an environment where the bus and taxi companies can co-exist.”
The Seoul Metropolitan Government, which actively supports and creates sharing initiatives and has established the megacity as a pioneer of the Sharing City movement, is working on revising related transportation laws to allow taxi companies to create vanpool services of their own.
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