Mobike arrived last February in Mexico City to take its first step in Latin America. This shared bike service, known as free-floating, allows users to locate bicycles via an app and unlock them with a QR code. The novelty is that you do not need bike parks or specialized stations as is the case of other services such as Ecobici.
After starting operations in Mexico City, Mobike had to face regulation for this type of applications. The experience in other cities has not been the best, so from the Government of the Mexican capital and with the collaboration of these companies, a process to regulate the services of shared bicycles was initiated.
In cities such as Madrid and Amsterdam, the arrival of these platforms was controversial due to the massive arrival of bicycles, their abandonment in the streets and the collapses in the bike parks. Applications such as Mobike have more good than bad intentions, more advantages than disadvantages, although the lack of a regulatory framework caused the Chinese company and VBike (which offers the same service in Mexico City) to spend some time on standby.
Mobike initiated in February a process of familiarization “that allowed the company not only to understand some habits of use but to confirm that it is a viable and urgent solution for the mobility of a city like this, where people combine means of transport in their daily movements, “Mobike said in a statement. After stopping offering its services in the Miguel Hidalgo neighborhood, where the operations began, the Mobility Secretariat (Semovi) has published the Notice for Pilot Operation of Bicycles without Anchoring in the Mexican capital.
One of the most important points of the first approach of the authorities to regulate these applications requires enabling parking dedicated to these bicycles, with the aim of avoiding situations similar to those of Madrid or Amsterdam. The user “must download the application on a mobile device, register and go to the authorized space in which the bicycles likely to provide the service will be found, use a unit, which must not leave the established polygon and, upon reaching its destination , they must return it in the parking spaces for that purpose “, establishes the regulations published in the Official Gazette.
On the other hand, it was established that these services should not exceed the price of the Ecobici program, which has a cost of 439 pesos per year. Also, companies that want to start operating should first make an analysis on the state of the market in the neighborhood or city in which they want to settle. This report should argue the number of bicycles available depending on the urban characteristics of the area.
Platforms must integrate broad coverage insurance
Another of the guidelines presented is that bicycles should offer a broad coverage insurance against any accident, theft or problem that users may have. La Semovi may issue operating permits for a period of 15 days, which may be renewed for 30 or 45 days.
Mobike, which operates in the Miguel Hidalgo delegation, and VBike, in Benito Juarez, can now start offering their services as normal. However, these established rules are only provisional and the Mobility Secretariat has a period of 60 days to present the definitive measures.
The “pilot operation” is the first approach of the capital authorities with the services of shared bicycles although it is not at all the last word of the Semovi. Although everything indicates that the announced guidelines will be final, it is possible that they will undergo slight changes that could change the operating conditions of the platforms.