WASHINGTON – Those who aren't willing or able to take a walking or bicycle tour of the Nation's Capital can now use motorized scooters instead.
The scooter rental company ScootAround has formed a partnership with Bike the Sites to create City Scooter Tours,the companies announced Tuesday.
“I had this idea for awhile,” said ScootAround President Lee Meagher. “It's such a simple concept. It's just never been done before. Ever.”
The company offers a three-hour tour of the Mall on the three and four-wheeled scooters that can hold one person each and traverse sidewalks or museum galleries.
“The tour covers the most popular and visited places,” said Kelly Diamond,a Bike the Sites employee. Those sites include the Jefferson Memorial,the Lincoln Memorial and the new World War II Memorial.
The bike tours are popular,and the scooters are expected to be popular as well,Diamond said. Though the idea is geared toward people with limited mobility,the service is available to anyone. Eventually,tourist will be able to take mixed trips with some riding the carts and others on bikes.
Reporters were allowed to try the scooters at a news conference. Two buttons control the forward and reverse motions and speed,which is about the same as a fast walk. Scooters have small steering wheels and turn signals.
Tours can be done individually or in groups of up to 10. Soon,a schedule of tours will be developed. The company will accept reservations or walkups at its station outside the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol.
Escorted scooter tours cost $75 per person. Scooter rentals start at $30 for two hours or $60 per day,though rates can vary for longer rentals or for those who need heavier vehicles. There's no age limit,but the company makes sure children are competent to handle the scooters,said company spokesman Caldwell Gray.
ScootAround scooter and wheelchair rentals are available in more than 500 locations nationwide. Meagher started the company because she didn't like having to transport her father's scooter on trips. With ScootAround,clients can have scooters delivered to their destination and picked up at the end of the visit. The scooters can be plugged into a household outlet to recharge overnight and will fit into the trunk of a mid-sized car.
Bike the Sites was created a year ago and offers several tours of the Washington metropolitan area.