AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - A brand new transportation option is coming to Austin.
"If you've had a bad experience on a kick scooter and you're still interested in getting around without beating traffic this is the vehicle for you.”
Elliott McFadden is the executive director for Bike Share of Austin.
Beep Beep! 🛴 @OjOElectric @AustinBcycle announced this week that #AUSTIN will be the launch site of its first ever sit-down scooter service. February 1st (or sooner) you’ll see 100 of these hitting the streets of downtown ATX. Details at 9 and 10 on @fox7austin (and yes I was😱) pic.twitter.com/7e7TjgxlP3— Destiny Chance (@DestinyonFOX7) January 10, 2019
Austin was tapped by OjO to become the first city to receive sit-down style scooters in Texas, and in the world. With hopes of expansion. He says, “I think it's a combination because we’re a very forward looking city, a very technologically savvy city and I think it's important to note OjO didn't want to just come in and throw these things out on the street, they wanted to work with an established community partner like us at Bike Share of Austin."
OjO announced on Tuesday the scooters which look like a Vespa, will begin rolling out the rental services on February 1st, or sooner. It can hit speeds of 20 miles per hour, can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge, and has quite a few specs that are different than the average motorized scooter.
Like Bluetooth speakers that offer navigation alerts and music.
"Both wheels have brakes, pneumatic tires and a shock system so if you hit a bump you're not going to get thrown off a scooter. a rear brake light, a nice little horn. daytime running lights all those things make it safe,” McFadden adds.
Max Smith who's the CEO of OjO says he hopes there will be at least 300 of these sit-down scooters on the streets by the beginning of South by Southwest. This initial permit OjO and Bike Share of Austin has with the city, only allows scooters to be used in the downtown city limits.
People are also prohibited from using it on trails.
If the pilot is a success, the city could lift these limits so services can be available beyond the current boundaries. Smith says, “It's $1.28 to initiate a ride then 18 cents a minute so we think it's in line with other ride sharing scooters are charging. In many cases it's cheaper."
McFadden adds, "This is a purpose built vehicle built from the ground up. It's a seated scooter and rides very much like a bicycle. I think it's going to open up a set of mobility to a group of people that are scared to get on the kick start scooter."
Smith says you can stand up on these "sit down" scooters if you'd like that option too.