San Francisco has terrible public transportation, so people are using this electric scooter-sharing network instead

new scoot_rider

San Francisco is a bear to get around. The hills make it near
impossible to walk anywhere without arriving as a sweaty mess,
while the public transit makes New York’s MTA look like a
well-oiled Hyperloop.

Scoot, founded in 2011, lets people find a nearby Vespa-style
scooter, unlock it through their smartphone, and ride anywhere
for just $4 per 30 minutes. There are more than 10,000 users
enrolled in the network, and over 400 scooters on the road.

This summer, San Franciscans will spot more cherry red electric
scooters on the road than ever. Scoot is introducing a sleeker
model and plans to add over 300 more scooters by this August, in
the hopes of making them available at a moment’s notice.

I recently visited the company’s headquarters-slash-auto-repair
in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood to see how it works.

Before you can start borrowing scooters, users must complete a
brief training session online (or in-person at the DMV parking
lot, if they’re a beginner-motorist). There’s no motorcycle
license required.

Users then search for nearby available scooters on the company’s
smartphone app. They’re parked at charging stations scattered
across the city, and in street-parking clusters near the CalTrain
station and other popular locations that are tough to reach by
public transit.

scoot scooter sharing san francisco

You can find a Scoot
scooter pretty much anywhere in San Francisco.


You can reserve the scooter and unlock it with the push of a
button. (The first generation Scoot scooters required a key to
put it into drive.)

Michael Keating, CEO and founder of Scoot, says if you can ride a
bike, you can learn to drive an electric scooter. Twisting the
right handlebar moves you forward, while gripping the hand-breaks
brings you to a stop. It requires some balancing to stay upright.

The scooters reach
25 miles per hour and boast a range of 20 to 25 miles. When you
reserve a scooter, the app tells you how many miles it can ride
before the battery charge runs out.

It’s also not going to work for everyone, Keating concedes. I’m
too terrified of crazy drivers and my own clumsiness to ride a
bike through city streets, so Scoot might not be a good fit for
my needs.

new scoot_sneak peek

Still, it’s a solid way to save money if you’re traveling on a
budget. In May 2015, the average Uber fare was
, which would give Scoot users over 90 minutes of ride
time. You also don’t need to tip.

Scoot delivers a much-needed service in a major city that lacks a
convenient bike-sharing initiative (San Francisco has a
bike-share program,
Bay Area Bike
, but it has a limited number of stations that all
hug the eastern border.)

While Scoot offers easy access and affordability, its use cases
are rather limited. I could see myself borrowing a scooter to run
to the grocery store, but because the cargo space is taken over
by an extra motorcycle helmet, there’s little room for a food

At the very least, it looks cool.

from SAI