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As Cold Weather Sets In, Scoobi Scooters Migrate South

Kieran McLean
90.5 WESA
Collected Scoobi scooters sit in the company's Shadyside warehouse before they're transported south.

What do Canada geese and scooter rental companies have in common? They both head south for the winter.

Scoobi, Pittsburgh’sfirst electric scooter company, will be moving its 100-vehicle fleet to an as-yet-undisclosed southern city for the coming months. Scoobi CEO Mike Moran said that the company’s ridership dropped by two-thirds in October, and that Pittsburgh’s winter climate isn’t conducive to pleasant riding.

“When it’s forty degrees out and raining five out of seven days a week, it’s not exactly the best weather for a scooter rideshare,” Moran said.

Scoobi began operations on July 21, and was modeled after electric scooter rental companies in San Francisco and Vancouver. For the most part, their summer run was successful. To operate a Scoobi, users download a phone app that they use to lock and unlock their scooters electronically. The scooters max out at 30 mph, the first 20 minutes costs $5, every minute thereafter costs $0.20.

According to Moran, 14,070 people downloaded the Scoobi app and riders drove total 50,695 miles before the company pulled its scooters off the road October 31, when Scoobi’s operations permit with the city ended. And although he’s heading south to capitalize on warmer weather, Moran said he’s received good customer feedback and hopes to return to Pittsburgh.

“We’ve received a massively positive response,” Moran said. “Really what we’re seeing [in Pittsburgh] is more of a six month market. But because I grew up here, I’ll always want to come back here.”

Scoobi says it has tentative plans to return to Pittsburgh mid-spring.

*This post was updated at 1:11 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2018 to correctly identify Canada geese.