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Lime launches new fleet of adaptive e-scooters in San Francisco

San Francisco Examiner - 2/19/2021

Individuals with disabilities in San Francisco will now have access to an accessible e-scooter option to help address their mobility needs.

Lime launched two new vehicles designed to make e-scooters more approachable and usable by individuals with limited mobility: a three-wheeled sit-down scooter for those who have trouble standing and a three-wheeled stand-up scooter for those who have trouble balancing.

Starting on Thursday, 60 of these adaptive vehicles are available for use in San Francisco under the new program known as Lime Able, and the company plans to scale up the fleet based on demand.

Users can reserve the vehicles ahead of time, arrange at-home delivery and pick-up so they don't have to travel to access their e-scooter, and use the vehicle for up to 24 hours at no cost.

"We're thrilled to launch Lime Able so that everyone has access to safe, affordable and sustainable transportation options, regardless of physical ability," Karla Owunwanne, director of government relations at Lime, said in a statement. "Providing inclusive services is core to our mission at Lime and this means innovating with our hardware to expand access to more users, ensuring our operations are mindful of the needs of the disabled community and that our scooters are safely out of the way on sidewalks.

Muni service cuts have left a transportation gap that some micromobility companies are eager to fill.

Last year, Lime doubled the size of its permissible fleet under its permit with San Francisco's transit agency when it acquired a former competitor from Uber.

Many San Francisco seniors or individuals with limited mobility have reported feeling isolated or unable to complete essential trips due to lack of transit access during the pandemic.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency oversees The City's scooter program, and recent changes made to the permit requirements ask companies to prioritize making their mobility service more accessible to seniors and those with limited mobility.

Lime has taken other steps to make its fleets more accessible to a wider range of riders.

It launched its first adaptive seated scooter in Oakland in 2019, attached braille stickers to vehicles for vision-impaired riders and has worked with disability rights organizations to better equip its operations staff in ADA compliance.

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