A handful of e-scooter providers are ardent about accepting cash payments for citywide rentals, widening their accessibility to the masses — who may or may not have a CVV number to their name.
The SF Examiner found out earlier this week that the local e-scooter company, Scoot, will start to offer a cash payment option in San Francisco, joining the likes of Lime and Ford Motor Company-owned Spin who also offer the choice.
Alas, you're right: Lyft, Uber, and Bird still operate only through credit card or debit card options. Prepaid cards may or may not be accepted. (A quick scroll through Reddit and those companies’ respective payment policies reveal they won't generally accept funds from all prepaid cards, but those using Walmart MoneyCards and PayPal Prepaid Mastercard will, generally, find success.)
Much like Lime, Scoot's cash options will be available at neighborhood hubs like CVS Pharmacy locations and 7-Elevens throughout SF; certain Family Dollar and Speedway locations will also offer cash-only vouchers.
The move to expand these cash rental options and programs is centered around helping low-income residents travel to and from locations in San Francisco as quickly and cost-effectively as they can, in lieu of having access to common credit or debit cards. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said in November they had a total of 167 program signups to these programs. However, since that report, both Lime and Scoot have added another 320 additions, alone.
Though, as SF Examiner's Joe Fitzgerald Rodriquez pointed out, Spin's model for aiding those who either can't afford their rental fees or don't have traditional baking to fall on is both straightforward and, perhaps, the most ideal: Just give them away... for free.
“That’s part of the reason we went with ‘free’ as an option," said Nima Rahimi, a member of the public policy counsel at Spin, to Rodriquez. “So people don’t have to worry about that at all."
Lyft has since retracted its decision to abandon cash payments for scooters. Uber, which purchased and now operates Jump e-scooters, still only accepts debit and credit cards. Though, with SF's enacted cashless ban, time will tell as to how those companies choose to adapt — or stay stagnate and get hit massive fines.
Image: Flickr via Portland Bureau of Transportation