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Uber defies government warnings and goes live in Seoul, Korea

After a tense battle, the City government of Seoul will crack down on UberX following the service's launch, offering rewards for reporting drivers.


Despite repeated warnings from local government, Uber Korea has ended its trial run and begun offering UberX as a paid service, according to local reports.

For the past three months, UberX was offered to customers as a promotional free service in Seoul. The Seoul Metropolitan Government, however, warned the company that as soon as Uber went commercial, it would deem the service illegal and start arresting drivers on the spot.

The base fare for UberX is 2500 won ($2.24), with an additional 610 won ($0.54) per kilometer and 100 won ($0.09) per minute. By comparison, base fare for local taxis start at 3000 won ($2.64) plus 100 won ($0.09) per 142 meters and 100 won($0.09) per 35 seconds.

The city government of Seoul is expected to crackdown relentlessly on the UberX service for violating the Passenger Transport Service Act. The City Council of Seoul is even in the process of approving a rewarding system that would award 200,000 won ($179) to citizens for reporting Uber drivers. Using a private car for taxi service is also punishable by an immediate 6-month suspension for that car.

Responding to the gravity of the situation, an Uber spokesperson said, "We think there is collision because Uber is a new concept. We are always ready to open dialogue with the city government of Seoul."

"According to a third-party survey, 90 percent of our customers support our service. 95 percent of our users also responded that they already have or intend to recommend the service to family and friends. We have such overwhelming support from our customers because UberX is safer than any other mode of transportation in Seoul."

No matter the satisfaction rate, Seoul is maintaining its stern stance and is expected to wage war with Uber Korea. A Seoul Metropolitan Government spokesperson said, "There is growing support for Uber because there is discomfort concerning existing taxi services. But you still have to abide by the nation's laws, and Uber Korea's actions instigate illicit activity through its users."