Scoobi Guide: What to know before you take this scooter for a spin

Everything you need to know about Pittsburgh's (fully electric) moped rideshare program. How to ride, where to find them and how much you can expect to pay.

by Emma Diehl
May 4, 2019

Update May 1, 2020: After being inside for the winter, the Scoobi electric scooters are back on the road for 2020

Somewhere between a car, a bike and a HealthyRide or an Uber, Scoobi is a ride-sharing alternative making Pittsburgh more rider-friendly than ever. Launched in summer 2018, Scoobi marries the accessibility of bike shares like HealthyRide with the ease of an electric or motor vehicle.

If you’ve been in the city on a sunny afternoon, chances are you’ve encountered a Scoobi or two zipping down the road. Ready for your first ride? Here’s how to use Scoobi to explore Pittsburgh.

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What you need to know before you go to rent a Scoobi

If you’ve never been on an electric moped before, hopping on the Scoobi can seem daunting. Luckily, before you can even rent a Scoobi, you’re required to watch a series of informational videos and take a comprehension test. That means carving out about half an hour for prep, sharing your driver’s license information, and taking a test before getting on a moped.

The informational videos have been around since Scoobi’s launch. The test was added this year to ensure safety and comprehension, and it has paid off, according to founder and CEO Mike Moran. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a similar company with a better safety record,” he says.

Once you’ve watched the videos and passed the test, you’re cleared to hit the road. Moran suggests taking your first ride “on a quiet street, away from heavy traffic.” Most users nail scootering after their first or second ride.

Scoobis come with a helmet in the back, as well as a cellphone charger and mount so you can access directions during the drive. Using the app, you can find scooters in your area, reserve one, and unlock it once you get there. After that, it’s a few seconds to get it started; then you’re ready to ride.

The rear hatch (helmet storage) mounted on every Scoobi. Photo: Pat Hogan

It’s a Car, It’s a Bike, It’s a …

While Scoobis are zippy two-wheelers, remember they’re a vehicle, not a bicycle. Each moped in the fleet is registered and licensed to drive in the state of Pennsylvania. On the road, Scoobis ride with and obey the same laws as cars. That means, no joy rides in the bike lanes or sidewalks, please.

However, the Scoobi’s max speed is 30 mph, meaning you won’t want to take these guys on the highway. Before you start your ride, make sure your final destination is within Scoobi’s riding limits. Otherwise, you can incur a fine.

Parking illegally can also land you a hefty parking ticket. Through a deal with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, the Scoobi scooters can park in paid parking for free, as long as they adhere to guidelines. Parking in an illegal space or on the sidewalk means a parking ticket is likely headed your way.

With the educational materials, Moran has seen a significant decrease in parking tickets dispensed to users compared to last year. The biggest thing to watch out for is street cleaning and no parking signs.

Scoobi – an electric-powered moped (rideshare) program. Available to use via their mobile app in Pittsburgh. Photo: Pat Hogan

Scooting Through Changes

Scoobi’s first summer on the road brought about its own set of challenges and growing pains. With unpredictable weather and low ridership, the Scoobi team pulled the fleet from the road late last October and reinstalled them in the spring of this year. Based on weather patterns and ridership, Moran expects similar behavior this year.

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Scoobi Scooter Pricing

When Scoobi returned to the streets this spring, the pricing model also changed. Each ride now costs $2 to unlock the electric moped, $0.30 a minute after and $0.15 a minute while the Scoobi is paused. The average Scoobi ride is 21 minutes.

What hasn’t been average are the routes. From students in Oakland using Scoobis to get to class, to weekend visitors using the mopeds to navigate the city, Moran says there’s a wide variety of riders across different age groups and demographics.

This year, Scoobi also rolled out a discounted frequent rider program.

  • The Edison package is $75 for 300 minutes.
  • The Joule package is $30 for 100 minutes.

With a discount package, each ride is subjected to a $1 unlocking fee instead of $2.

As its second summer on the road rolls on, Scoobi looks to the future. With a grant, the company has secured additional vehicles, which they hope to add to the fleet next year. With more Scoobis on the road, Moran hopes to expand the moped rentals to more neighborhoods.

Scoobi in downtown Pittsburgh. Photo: Pat Hogan

 

Header Photo, courtesy of Pat Hogan

Emma is a Pittsburgh-based writer, with a focus on lifestyle and technology. Her work has been featured on HuffpostLive!, NPR, XOJane, NEXTPittsburgh, and Niche.

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