In today’s highly connected society, inclusivity, especially when it comes to alternative forms of transportation, is important to keep people going where they need to go. While the growing popularity of e-bike and e-scooter sharing platforms seems to be inaccessible for individuals with disabilities, leading scooter-sharing platform TIER ascertains that this need not be the case.
In France, TIER Mobility is piloting wheelchair-accessible electric scooters in partnership with Omni, a French startup that has developed an electric scooter attachment compatible with most wheelchairs. The way it works is incredibly simple and user friendly. The scooter attaches to the front of the wheelchair, and has the rider control it like they would a standard scooter. It simply makes use of a bracket that secures the wheelchair in place, and can easily be unlatched once the user reaches their destination.
TIER and Omni’s partnership has given birth to an e-scooter rental program in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, with hopes of expanding all throughout the city. In total, there are more than 1.4 million wheelchair users in Paris, and rolling out a program that could help improve their mobility to this extent will surely go a long way in providing universal access to sustainable personal mobility.
According to Omni, its technology is compatible with 95 percent of all the wheelchairs in the market. Of course, it goes without saying that strapping a wheelchair onto an e-scooter is much more cost-effective than spending thousands of dollars on a motorized power attachment for a wheelchair. Looking at things from the bigger picture, in an article by mobility website Intelligent Transport, TIER highlights that one in 10 of its customers identify as having one form or another of disability. As such, the company is really pushing for more accessible and inclusive means of personal mobility.
While TIER and Omni’s wheelchair-compatible electric scooters are currently only available in parts of Paris, the companies look to expand into other major French cities such as Bordeaux and Lyon. On top of this, they have plans of going beyond France’s borders and entering major cities in other parts of Europe, such as London in England and Dublin in Ireland, in the not too distant future.