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Spin US study gives free transportation to low income residents

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Micromobility operator Spin and three mobility service providers have partnered with the city of Pittsburgh in a first-of-its-kind pilot that will give 50 low-income residents free transportation to study the effects on participants’ socio-economic progress.

The year-long study focuses on equitable transportation, specifically around the concept of universal basic mobility.

“The study will help us understand how free access to riding an e-scooter, and other shared and public transport can potentially help those on low income to improve their quality of lives without the expense and burden of owning a car,” Spin’s VP of Partnerships and Policy, Kyle Rowe, told Zag Daily. 

Ultimately the goal is to elevate the participants’ social-economic status by removing the financial barriers to transportation to improve access to jobs, education, healthcare, social services and recreational activities.

The trial will focus on residents living in the Manchester and Chateau neighbourhoods of Pittsburgh. Manchester neighbourhood was specifically chosen as the median income there is 14% below the median income in the city of Pittsburgh. The economic opportunity of the Central Business District, which has a higher number of jobs and services, is just out of reach for people in the Manchester neighbourhood because of high transportation pricing and limited transit options.

In total, 100 people will take part in the study. Participants will be randomly allocated into two groups: 50 of them will receive free access to the Move PGH transportation services (including public transit, Spin scooters and POGOH bikes) and 50 will not for comparison.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) will evaluate the project and will work in close collaboration with the city of Pittsburgh and Spin.

Rowe said: “Spin has been successfully supporting low income riders for years via our Spin Access programme, but working in partnership with the city and academic research success here will mean deeper insight into how transit and carshare can fit into a multimodal toolkit, along with e-scooters, to help people get around and hopefully make their lives better.”

Spin was acquired by TIER earlier this year. It still operates e-bikes and e-scooters in North American cities and on University campuses, so the Spin brand is now only available in the USA and Canada. In the UK, Spin has rebranded its operations and is now part of the TIER brand in Essex and Milton Keynes.

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