Memphis-Based Nonprofit Seeks Financial Partners for Scooter Service

My City Rides, a nonprofit that supplies scooters to consumers for transportation to work, is looking for lenders to finance its program, President Andy Nix told Powersports Finance.

Currently only available in Memphis, Tenn., My City Rides partners with employers that recommend employees who can’t afford cars, arrive late to work due to public transit, or have other transportation issues. For qualified employees who can secure a Tennessee driver’s license, My City Rides provides a $2,899 SYM Fiddle III 200i scooter, driving instructions, insurance, maintenance, and apparel. The price: $3 per day — $0.50 cheaper than the bus — deducted directly from their paycheck.

My City Rides funds the program in-house, but it is looking for financial partners to help ease the risk.

“We’re assuming all of the risk and the financial burden as a nonprofit, really looking into building a presence within the market,” Nix said. “That works under the employer model where there’s that payment mechanism. What we are hoping to avoid is becoming too much of a collection agency.”

The contract for riders lasts 36 months, so the total cost is about $3,300 — below the $5,000 minimum required by the lenders the nonprofit has spoken to so far.

“As a nonprofit, we are interested in finding partners that can help with that financing piece and can be considerate of the spectrum of the market that we are going after,” Nix said. “Some people are going to have non-traditional credit histories. We are looking to take acceptable risks going forward, and as we learn what makes an acceptable rider, we are looking for partners that are interested in financing at rates that are commensurate with our nonprofit mission.”

My City Rides has a dozen scooters in the fleet; it plans to roll out 100 more in the next 12 months.

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