Local entrepreneur Mike Moran was at his day job in September last year, and stopped to read Merrill Lynch’s monthly RIC report, where analysts hold forth on high-performing stocks and growth markets.
“And they had a little piece about ridesharing and they were talking about how that’s going to grow by X billions of dollars in the next few years,” he said. “I was like, ‘What is missing from rideshare?’”
Scooters. On-demand electric scooters.
“Affordable, fun, and more individualistic than, you know, getting in a car; and then more practical than reaching your destination on a pedal bike,” said Moran, whose company is called Scoobi.
In mid-June, Moran expects to release 100 scooters throughout the city’s East End.
Scoobi’s vehicles are essentially miniature motorcycles and, similar to rideshare bicycles, they can be rented through an app. The scooters travel on the road and max out at 30 mph; the first 20 minutes costs $5, and $0.20 for every minute thereafter. Two helmets are stored in the trunk of each scooter.
Moran hopes to be able to park some of the scooters in parking garages so they can be plugged in to charge. He said he is in discussions with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University. For the rest of the scooters, parking will likely be on city streets. The company purchased a truck and hired one or two operations employees to redistribute and charge wayward scooters.
While Moran approached the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure earlier this year with his idea, director Karina Ricks said her office is still figuring out what the city’s role might be.
“More than anything else we’re concerned about preserving the public safety,” she said. “Making sure that these things are parked appropriately, that they’re being managed in an effective and responsible way.”
She added that, in general, the city is in favor of expanding people’s mobility options; they just need to know more about Moran’s operating plan.