The service launched a free trial version in the district of Gangnam back in December and received positive citizen reviews. Callbus served an average of 50-60 passengers per night during 11pm-4am in its first month. The app has since expanded to other regions within Seoul.
Callbus has received strong opposition from the taxi cab community, as drivers are worried about competition. However, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has concluded that there is a need for an alternative service which taxis and buses cannot offer. “We see a rising demand for the Callbus service,” a Ministry official said. “The key here is to create an environment where the bus and taxi companies can co-exist.”
The government is currently working on revising related transportation laws to allow taxi companies to start mini-bus services of their own. The ministry is considering allowing any bus or taxi company to offer the Callbus service using vans with at least 11 seats.
Fares for the service are also being discussed. “The goal is to make it half the taxi rate.” Says Callbus CEO Steve Park. “We are currently looking at a base fare of ₩2,000 (€1,50) for the first 4 kilometers, and ₩600-700 (about €0,50) for every additional kilometer.”