As Colombia’s government, apparently allied with sometimes violent taxi syndicates runs off mobility providers such as Uber and domestic company Picap, electric scooter provider Lime has announced that it is also abandoning its Bogotá foothold in a blog post by its CEO.
This comes as Uber has announced plans to abandon Colombia and the Duque Administration moves to liquidate local alternative Picap, just a day after it ruled against Uber. Very popular with both riders and drivers, the government, backed by taxi syndicates ruled such platforms “unfair competition” because they interfere with the taxi monopoly. Colombians and foreigners alike mistrust the taxis, especially in the capital of Bogotá where they suffer an infamous reputation. In November, an organized crime ring of taxi drivers was captured for robbing foreigners in the city center of over $140,000 USD.
In 2014, seven Bogotá taxi drivers were extradited to the US for murdering an off-duty DEA officer in a botched robbery attempt.
Taxi union leader Hugo Ospina already declared war on the scooters after winning a court ruling against Uber last month. “We are going to sue the technology platforms that the state declared illegal!” said Ospina in a radio show last month by Semana magazine.
Ospina said proudly in a video he published on Facebook that the administration of President Ivan Duque agreed to prosecute Uber in a deal that the taxi syndicates would not join the November anti-government protests in exchange for Duque doing their bidding regarding alternative mobility such as Uber, Picap, Lime, and others.
According to Lime they faced difficult operating conditions in Bogotá even without Ospina’s threats. “The district did excellent work in designing the first version of regulations. Still, we are concerned that other companies aren’t following the laws, and the district (of Bogotá) hasn’t taken action. All of that is causing illegal scooters to circulate,” Lime general manager for Colombia Enrique Cuéllar told news daily El Espectador.
Lime’s CEO Brad Bao stated in a blog post that the company was leaving Bogotá along with 12 other markets, roughly 10% of the 120+ cities where the scooter company operates:
“While the vast majority of our 120+ markets have adopted micromobility transportation solutions quickly and are profitable, there are select communities throughout the world where micromobility has evolved more slowly. For this reason, we have made the difficult decision to close 12 markets across the globe at this time. They include Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio in the United States; Linz, Austria in Europe; and Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Puerto Vallarta, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Latin America.”
Above photo courtesy Lime