Bird, the scooter and bike sharing company, is launching a pilot focused on offering accessible mobility vehicles for people with disabilities to rent in New York City this summer.
In a recent news announcement, Bird said it had partnered with Scootaround, a leading scooter and wheelchair rental company, to test what it called a first-of-its-kind accessible mobility program. In the pilot, individuals will be able to find and reserve one of the three accessible vehicles the companies are making available, including the WHILL Model Ci2 power chair, using the Bird app.
Bird did not specify what other models people would be able to rent but did say they would include three and four wheel scooter options “with attached basket for easy storage.” There was also no mention of the cost of the service. However, a transportable scooter rental on Scootaround for a week ran between $US125 ($160) and $US195 ($250) in some U.S. cities.
Kerry Renaud, CEO and managing director at Scootaround, said in the news announcement that his company and Bird shared the fundamental belief that accessible mobility should be available to everyone who needs it.
“As micromobility options such as shared bikes and scooters continue to expand, we must ensure the benefits of these improved transportation networks be made as widely available as possible, including to persons with disabilities,” Renaud said.
To reserve an accessible vehicle, individuals can select that specific option in the Bird app. This will allow you to select your vehicle type, a rental length between one and 14 days, and a “convenient” pick-up and drop-off location for the vehicle, Bird explained. Additionally, on the day of the delivery of the rental, riders will receive an in-person tutorial to help them learn how to use, charge, and store their vehicle during the rental period.
Bird said it would roll out the accessibility mobility service in other cities in 2021 based on the results of the pilot program in New York City.