Equity In E-Scooter Systems

Keeping scooters would be an equitable option because they easily solve the first mile last mile problem for people who don’t have access to automobiles, which will mostly consist of people with lower incomes. To encourage usage/distribution of scooters in lower-income areas, we propose adding equity zones.

According to a Kittleson study, equity zones are areas that are underserved in terms of mobility, sited in historically marginalized neighborhoods, which have been subject to housing and transportation discrimination. This study analyzed 20 equity zones in Baltimore, demonstrating that during COVID-19, ridership in these equity zones dropped considerably less than the overall ridership. In other words, even though overall ridership has suffered during COVID-19, people in equity zones still continued to rely on e-scooters to fulfill their transportation needs.

Escooter companies have also made initiatives to become more accessible; for example, all of the major companies have programs for low-income folks to afford rides. If they’re recipients of government programs for low-income people, such as SNAP, EBT, Medicare, they’re eligible for these discounts. Also, many have started implementing pay-by-cash programs for people who don’t own smartphones.