While the great Scooter Wars of 2019 are, thankfully, behind us, Austin continues to attract businesses that want to put dockless electric vehicles on its streets. The latest entry is Scoobi, a PIttsburgh-based company that’s deploying its “on-demand” mopeds in the city this week.
Scoobi seems to be following the now somewhat blazed trail of the e-scooters and dockless bikes from companies that preceded it (Lime and Bird being foremost among them) by focusing on the traffic-congested central city for its launch. Its mopeds will be located in the downtown area and can be parked free of charge at city meters inside the official Scoobi zone. The company started its rollout Tuesday and expects to have 200 of its moped-style scooters fully operating on Austin roads by Friday.
Drivers will be able to locate and rent the vehicles after downloading the Scoobi app, scanning their driver’s licenses, watching some explanatory videos, and passing a safety quiz. The mopeds rent for 36 cents per minute of riding and 18 cents per minute while paused, plus a $2 unlocking fee, and can be reserved for 10 minutes ahead of time free of charge. The company also offers advance-purchase minutes packages at a discount.
Scoobi mopeds can travel at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and have a battery life of around 30 miles. Driving the street-legal vehicles is not allowed in bike lanes or on sidewalks, but, unlike those vehicles, rentable Scoobis come with two different-sized helmets, a lockable trunk, a phone mount and charger, and parking maps and guides.
Scoobi’s Austin expansion is its first beyond its home city of Pittsburgh, where it was founded in 2018. Riders there have traveled 353,000 miles on the scooters and, according to the company, kept more than 388,000 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere during that time.