Unagi's e-scooter rental service saves you from sharing with strangers

The service launches in Los Angeles and New York today and pricing starts at $34 per month.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, plenty of people are looking for alternatives to public transport, but for some, the prospect of using bike- or scooter-sharing services that require them to use the same devices as strangers doesn't do much to alleviate their health concerns. A new service called Unagi All-Access that launches in Los Angeles and New York today aims to offer the best parts of e-scooter rental services without the worries.

The service includes two subscription plans. The first is a pay-as-you-go monthly plan at $39 per month with no long-term commitment. The second is an annual plan of $408 (which works out to $34 a month). Both plans require an initial $50 sign-up fee, so your first month will cost you either $89 or $84, depending on which plan you choose.

Why would you rent rather than buy? Because that subscription fee that includes any maintenance the e-scooter needs, and you're insured in the event it gets stolen or damaged. Unagi — which has been selling its high-end e-scooters for a few years now — thinks that convenience might be enough to win over consumers.

Delivered to your door — Once you've signed up, Unagi delivers a fully-assembled Model One e-scooter to you. There's no limit on how much mileage you can do though, of course, you're responsible for keeping it charged. If something goes wrong with your scooter you can call Unagi and it'll bring you a new one within 24 hours.

If your scooter gets stolen, you'll need to file a police report, and then contact Unagi about getting a replacement. You'll pay an $85 deductible for the replacement.

Should you choose to cancel your subscription at any point Unagi will come and collect the e-scooter.


The Model One's specs — The Model One e-scooter (which you can also buy outright if you prefer for $990) offers dual 250W motors and a top speed of 17 mph. It uses a 9,000 mAh battery, has a range of 15.5 miles to a charge, and takes 4-5 hours to charge. It can handle riders up to 275 lbs and 6.5-feet tall, and the scooter itself weighs 26.5 lbs and folds flat for easy transportation or storage.

More cities to come — The company says it plans to extend to new cities soon. With New York only recently legalizing the use of e-scooters and the like on public roads, Unagi is likely hoping for an early mover advantage. Bird, Bolt, Lime, and other e-scooter companies have struggled despite the pandemic, and continue to have to battle regulators in some cities, so whether Unagi can perform better than them remains to be seen.

There is something appealing about a subscription service that leaves you off the hook for the administration that comes from actually owning something. We've seen it work for car leasing, short-term scooter rentals, and even streetwear. Perhaps scooters are the next logical step.