Mobile Payments Takes a Blow as GM Shutters Maven Service in Half of Available Locations

May 22, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

While ridesharing firms like Uber and Lyft have proven excellent use cases for mobile payments—who wants to carry cash around in an easily-robbed car?—other ridesharing operations haven’t exactly had a lot of luck. Even those with major corporate backing have felt the pain here, as GM is poised to shutter its own ridesharing operation, Maven, in eight of the 17 cities in which it currently operates.

Word from GM itself says that GM will be shutting down Maven service in Boston and Chicago to start with, sometime in the “next few months.” Reports noted that Chicago Maven customers received emails noting that service would terminate on July 26.

From there, future shutdowns will follow, though a GM spokeswoman declined to offer a complete list of who would lose out. However, given that a list of cities where it would continue operating was provided—Detroit, Los Angeles, Toronto and Washington DC made that list, among others—a complete list might be generated via process of elimination.

GM’s rep noted that the company was “…shifting Maven’s offerings to concentrate on markets in which we have the strongest current demand and growth potential.” The waters are a bit muddied here, since back in January, Maven lost the woman who’d headed the Maven unit since it was started, Julia Steyn, under less-than-clear conditions.

Especially odd here are reports that these closures come at a time when even Uber is having a tough time in the market. Uber post-IPO has been on a downward track, and reports suggest big losses have followed.

It’s unusual, in that the market for ridesharing doesn’t seem to have appreciably changed. People aren’t buying vast numbers of new cars—car sales are actually on the decline by some reports—and there isn’t a big push toward bicycling or other potential substitutes. It may be that people are simply traveling less, which is a possibility, or walking more, which may be the case especially in large cities. It just doesn’t seem like there’s that big a connection between recent movements and a greatly reduced demand for ridesharing.

Only time will tell how this all turns out, but in the end, that’s a few fewer use cases for mobile payments, which is never really a good outcome.