Tier Mobility has become the latest e-scooter rental firm to test a specially adapted wheelchair-accessible machine – and says it could offer the machine in London in the future.
The mobility giant, which runs government-approved rental e-scooter fleets in London, Milton Keynes and Essex, has been testing the modified machines in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, close to Versailles on the outskirts of Paris, France.
The adapted e-scooter uses a universal fixing that has been developed by French start-up Omni, and which allows a wheelchair to be attached to an e-scooter. The idea is that the device would give greater freedom over an expanded distance to those with reduced mobility.
Omni’s device is claimed to work with around 95 per cent of e-scooters on the market, and the firm says it is significantly cheaper than the approximately £4000 cost of a traditional power attachment for a wheelchair.
The Tier and Omni trial in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines allows wheelchair uses to rent the accessible e-scooters.
Tier’s research suggests that one in 10 of its e-scooter riders identify as having some form of disability. It is in talks to introduce the machines in other French cities including Bordeaux and Lyon, and says it is hoping to extend the partnership to markets outside of France “such as London” in the near-future.
Tier’s UK boss, Georgia Yexley, said: “Considering accessibility for any mobility service is critical – and micro-mobility is no exception.
“Whilst accessibility must be considered at all stages, it is just as important to create a service which can be iteratively improved and become more accessible over time. Our work with Omni shows how we as an industry can react to ongoing challenges and make micro-mobility usable by all.”
Omni has also worked with rental e-scooter firm Dott to test a wheelchair-accessible machine elsewhere in Paris.