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Elevate Rides hopes to serve Forsyth area

On June 11, guest speaker at the Forsyth Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon was Katie Sandage, director of the Elevate Rides program of Elevate Branson.

 



With the motto, “Keep Moving Forward,” the goal of Elevate Rides is to provide access to affordable transportation for employees in Branson and surrounding communities. The program offers gas-powered, automatic, motorized scooters for rent, starting at $75 per week with a helmet, safety vest, liability insurance and operator training provided. That figure is significantly less than the price of ordering a rideshare service each day, helping put workers in a better position to move forward with other financial goals.

 

In her remarks to the Chamber, Sandage said many entry-level and lower-wage workers spend more than half of their paycheck just getting to work, making it difficult or impossible to break out of the poverty cycle and discouraging some people from even trying. Workers who do have access to a car often cannot afford repairs and upkeep on top of insurance and gasoline costs, making them dependent on family or friends if the vehicle breaks down. “The scooter program is a practical, doable way to help people get back on their feet,” said Sandage.

 

The rental scooters are a smaller size and suitable for areas close to town where minimum speeds are lower. The rental program requires only a driver’s license and participation in operator training. It is suitable for Branson’s J-1 visa holders who are licensed in their home country, and there are currently several of the units in use in Branson. Since the rentals do not work for a highway commute, though, Sandage hopes to establish a hub for rentals in Forsyth as well, which would help provide workers for businesses in and near Forsyth with manageable transportation costs.

 

A larger scooter, capable of traveling safely at highway speeds, is available through an ownership program. To qualify, a worker must have a driver’s license and be eligible for a Class M motorcycle operator’s license; be eligible for insurance; have been employed for at least 30 days; and receive approval from the program’s bank partner based on debt-to-income ratio. As with the rental program, the monthly cost includes training and expenses, making the cost of commuting affordable and opening doors for workers in Forsyth and other area communities to commute longer distances, often the key to promotions or to pursuing more specialized skills and interests.

 

Sandage is currently looking for a donated or reasonably priced facility in Forsyth to house a rental scooter inventory and training space. To learn more, suggest a possible location, or apply for the programs, call 417-295-7575 or email Katie.Sandage@ElevateBranson.org.

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