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Grin must withdraw its units from Mexico City, pushes back

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – E-scooter company Grin must withdraw its units from the streets of Mexico City after allegedly failing to provide proper information to the national transportation ministry, Semovi.

Based on recent reports, the startup never designated an employee to handle customer service inquiries concerning traffic events or other incidents. Semovi also accused Grin of never clearly stating insurance policies on vehicles, which could have been a liability for customers.

As of February 15, however, Grin issued a response via Twitter expressing its side of the story. According to a press release shared with over 6,000 followers, the company claims that the government revoked its permit before the original deadline was met. The document also states the company’s compliance with the law as they handed in the requirements on-time.

If Grin did actually comply with the requisites, then we’re still not really sure what’s in store for the startup. So far, it seemed as though Grin’s devices would be taken out of circulation and the firm would become ineligible to obtain a permanent permit. All of this could now change depending on the proceedings.

How did this mess start?

This story began as a pilot program in Mexico City as a means to investigate sustainable public transportation solutions. Ten micro-mobility startups received a 45-day operating permit to test out the waters, Grin being one of them.

In the end, Grin was the only one to allegedly miss the February 6 inspection deadline, according to Semovi’s recent press release. Nonetheless, Mbike, Vbike, Dezba and Motum will continue to offer bicycle rentals while Bird, Lime, Motum, Econduce and Movo focus on e-scooters.

According to Claudia Sheinbaum, head of Semovi, participants needed to share data involving numerical identifiers and models of each service unit (whether they be bicycles or scooters) to the government agency. It appears as though Grin apparently missed the mark on this as well.

Thoughts

Despite Grin’s recent woes, the micro-mobility industry continues to make positive strides towards a future with fewer cars. The industry is growing in major cities like San Francisco and London while providing alternatives to relentless traffic. Not only is this good for the environment but also innovative transportation industries.

To be honest, I think this whole Grin situation is sticky. On one hand, I think it would be unfortunate if Grin doesn’t get a second chance. On the other, the enterprise didn’t seem to have all of its bases covered. If other projects fulfilled the initial requirements, why couldn’t Grin?

In my opinion, this may be just a step backwards for the company. Although it’s a detour, I trust these guys can figure it out sooner than later. All in all, Grin has been a stand-up example of Latin American entrepreneurship. We’re not certain about what the future of Grin will look like, but we’re going to stay on top of it.


UPDATE: The muddle between Grin and Semovi continues. According to Grin’s Twitter on February 26, the federal government allegedly requested users’ private information. However, the micro-transportation company didn’t feel comfortable in providing this data, hence an ongoing conflict with no end in sight.

Later on, Mexico City’s Mobility Secretary Andrés Lajous rebuked these claims by posting some Tweets of his own. According to him, Semovi only requested information pertaining to vehicles, trip trajectories, rental durations, as well as gender and age of users.

This is getting interesting. Stay tuned for more.

via GIPHY

-JA

Jacob Atkins
Jacob Atkins is a journalist specializing in Latin America. He studied journalism and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and has previously reported from Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. When he isn't writing he's most likely hiking or drawing.

1 COMMENT

  1. Amazing that a company that raised over 200 million dollars in less than a year can be so irresponsible as to not even deliver a count of how many scooters it has on the street. This is what happens when investors do not check the background of the entrepreneurs they invest on… these guys are well known in Mexico for being fraudulent

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