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Can You Get Free Scooter Rides With Ebt?

Using electric scooters from companies like Bird and Lime to get around is a popular option in many cities. For those on a tight budget, a common question is whether EBT benefits can be used to cover the cost of scooter rides.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: There are currently no nationwide programs that allow you to use EBT benefits to pay for electric scooter rides directly. However, some local nonprofits or transportation programs may offer discounted or free scooter rides for low-income individuals.

SNAP EBT Cannot Be Used For Scooter Rides

Many people who rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits wonder if they can use their EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards to pay for other expenses, such as transportation.

However, it is important to note that SNAP EBT cannot be used for scooter rides.

Scooter Rides

EBT Can Only Be Used for Eligible Food Purchases

The primary purpose of SNAP benefits is to help low-income individuals and families afford nutritious food.

As a result, EBT cards can only be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers, including grocery stores, supermarkets, and farmer’s markets.

This means that EBT cannot be used for non-food items or services, including scooter rides.

SNAP benefits are intended to ensure that individuals and families have access to the basic necessities of life, particularly food.

While transportation is undoubtedly important, it is not considered an eligible expense under the SNAP program.

Scooter Companies Do Not Accept EBT Payment

In addition to the restrictions imposed by the SNAP program, scooter companies do not accept EBT payment as a form of transaction.

These companies typically have their own payment systems, which often require users to link a credit or debit card to their accounts. This allows for seamless and cashless transactions when renting a scooter.

It is worth noting that scooter companies strive to make their services as accessible as possible, offering various payment options to accommodate different financial situations.

However, EBT payment is not currently accepted by scooter companies as a valid form of payment.

While using SNAP EBT for scooter rides may not be an option, there are other affordable transportation alternatives available for individuals and families who rely on SNAP benefits.

Local public transportation systems, carpooling, and community programs are some options to consider when looking for affordable ways to get around.

For more information on SNAP eligibility and approved food purchases, you can visit the official website of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

Discounted or Free Scooter Programs

Local/Community Programs And Scooter Companies

Many cities and communities have implemented programs that provide discounted or free scooter rides to individuals who qualify based on their income level.

These programs are often run by local nonprofit organizations or community initiatives with the aim of promoting transportation equity and reducing transportation costs for low-income individuals.

One example of such a program is the “Lime Access Program” in Portland, Oregon.

The Lime Access Program is a global equity program that provides discounted rides to eligible residents. It is part of Lime’s core mission to provide sustainable transportation options to all. 

This initiative offers discounted scooter rides to individuals who are eligible for government assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Another example is the “Bird Access Program” in Boulder, Colorado.

The program is a monthly subscription service that provides riders with discounted scooter rides to eligible individuals, including those who are enrolled in or eligible for government assistance programs.

The Bird Access program is a great way to save money on transportation and reduce your carbon footprint. It is also a great way to get around Boulder without having to own a car.

The “Spin Access Program” is another example of a local program that provides discounted scooter rides to individuals who qualify based on their income level.

To be eligible, EBT cardholders need to present their EBT card as proof of low income.

For example, in Chicago, Illinois, once you are approved for the program, you will receive a 50% discount on all Spin rides in Chicago. The discount is applied automatically when you unlock a Spin scooter.

These local/community programs and scooter companies not only help individuals save money on transportation but also contribute to creating a more inclusive and accessible transportation system for all members of the community.

Applying for Low-Income

Using EBT for Other Transportation Costs

While EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) can be used to purchase groceries and other essential items, many people wonder if they can also use it for transportation costs.

While free scooter rides with EBT may not be possible, there are still options available for individuals who rely on EBT benefits for their daily needs.

Public Transit Passes, Cards, and Tickets

One way to avail of transportation benefits as an EBT recipient is by purchasing public transit passes, cards, or tickets.

Many cities offer discounted or subsidized transit fares for individuals who receive government assistance. These programs aim to make public transportation more accessible and affordable for low-income individuals and families.

In some cases, cities may offer free or reduced-cost transit passes specifically for EBT recipients.

These programs are designed to help individuals with limited financial resources access essential services, such as employment, education, and healthcare.

Gas for Personal Vehicles

While EBT cannot be directly used to purchase gasoline for personal vehicles, there are other assistance programs available to help with transportation costs.

Some states offer programs that provide financial assistance to individuals who need help paying for gas. In some states, the government offers additional cash benefits (in addition to SNAP benefits) that may be used to purchase gas.

These programs are typically based on income eligibility and aim to support individuals who rely on their personal vehicles for essential travel.

Additionally, some charitable organizations and non-profits may offer assistance with gas expenses. These organizations often work with low-income individuals and families to provide support for various needs, including transportation.

Taxis, Rideshares, and Paratransit

If public transit is not a viable option, individuals may wonder if they can use EBT for taxis, rideshares, or paratransit services.

While EBT cannot be used directly for these services, there are programs available that provide transportation assistance for individuals with disabilities or mobility limitations.

Paratransit services, for example, are specialized transportation options for individuals who are unable to use traditional public transit due to disabilities. These services are often subsidized or provided at a reduced cost for eligible individuals.

Some cities also have programs that offer discounted taxi or rideshare services for individuals with disabilities or specific transportation needs.

It’s important to check with local government agencies, transit authorities, or social service organizations to determine the specific transportation assistance programs available in your area.

These organizations can provide valuable information about the options and resources available to help individuals with transportation needs.

Taxis, Rideshares, and Paratransit

Other Ways to Get Around on a Budget

While scooters may not be available for free with EBT, there are still plenty of other affordable transportation options to consider. Here are some alternative ways to get around on a budget:

Biking and Walking

One of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly ways to get around is by biking or walking.

Not only is it free, but it also provides a great opportunity to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Plus, you can avoid traffic jams and parking fees altogether!

Many cities have dedicated bike lanes and walking paths, making it safer and more convenient for pedestrians and cyclists.

Public Transit Options

Public transportation is another affordable option for getting around.

Most cities have bus systems that offer discounted fares for low-income individuals. Additionally, some cities offer reduced or free passes for certain groups, such as students or seniors.

Check with your local transit authority to see if you qualify for any discounted programs. Public transit is not only cost-effective, but it also helps reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Rideshares and Carpooling

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can be a convenient and affordable option, especially if you’re traveling with a group.

Splitting the cost of a ride with others can significantly reduce your transportation expenses. Additionally, some rideshare companies offer discounted or subsidized rides for low-income individuals.

Carpooling is also a great way to save money on transportation. By sharing a ride with others who are heading in the same direction, you can cut down on fuel costs and reduce your carbon footprint.


In most cases, EBT cards cannot be used to pay for electric scooter rides directly.

However, those on a limited income may qualify for discounted or free scooter programs through local nonprofits. EBT can also cover certain public transportation costs.

With a bit of creativity, you can find affordable ways to get around your city on a tight budget.

Remember, while scooters may not be available for free with EBT, there are still plenty of other budget-friendly transportation options to explore. Whether it’s biking, walking, taking public transit, or carpooling, there are ways to get around without breaking the bank.

So, don’t let transportation costs hold you back from getting where you need to go!

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