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Tier exits Tel Aviv blaming widespread theft

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Shared micromobility operator Tier has suspended its services in Tel Aviv, Israel, until further notice. The company blames widespread vehicle theft which has compromised the firm’s operations in the city.

“Unfortunately, there is a widespread phenomenon of vehicle theft in Israel, on a scale we have not encountered anywhere else in the world where we operate,” said Tier in a statement. “Therefore, it has been decided that, for now, Tier will leave Tel Aviv and Israel.”

Tel Aviv Municipality, however, claims Tier’s permit to operate was denied for not having met the conditions to maintain the service in the city. 

Compliance rules

In a post on Facebook, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said the municipality made it clear to all operators that failure to comply with the rules would lead to a termination of the services.

“After a second hearing for Tier, we had to stop their operations,” wrote Huldai. “They, on their part, announced their intention to leave. We won’t compromise on public order and the safety of road users.” 

The Mayor highlighted that the rules included: 1) Preventing minors from riding by digital identification processes; 2) Making e-scooters available all over the city; 3) Offering helmets on 75% of the vehicles; and 4) Passing on to the authorities details of users who committed traffic offences.

Regarding point one, Tier told Zag Daily that it had partnered with Munich-based IDnow, an identity proofing and digital identity provider. The operator said that as soon as the municipality notified them that its ID verification process required an update, Tier immediately implemented the change to ensure continued, robust checks.

When it comes to helmets, Tier told Zag it had met this requirement by equipping 100% of its vehicles with helmet boxes, but that many helmets were stolen on a scale not experienced anywhere else in the world where the firm operates. The operator said the ‘widespread phenomenon of vehicle theft in Israel’ is what hampered its ability to cover the whole city, rather than just the city centre. 

“With the limited number of vehicles remaining, it was unfortunately not possible for us to cover the entire city,” said Tier.

Returning is a possibility

The decision comes a year after Tier first arrived in Tel Aviv following strong demand in the city and other locations in Israel.

Despite this, the shared e-scooter business had not been making a profit due to the thefts, according to Tier. The operator will consider coming back if conditions improve.

“We would like to thank our users in Israel and hope that the conditions will improve soon so that we can return and operate here again quickly,” said the firm. 

“We firmly believe that we can establish ourselves as a viable option in urban transport in the long term and we hope to come back with our services when the time’s right.”

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