Scooters make a play for SF streets

For car-free San Franciscans, navigating The City can be tough. Muni is maddening slow and unreliable. Cabs are expensive. And the thought of biking up and down steep hills is enough to make this gal’s glutes weep.

But if everything goes to plan for local startup Scoot Networks, The City will be beeping and putt-putting with all the vigor of Indian or Vietnamese cities by the end of the year.

Scoot will offer rentable electric scooters throughout San Francisco with pickup and drop-off locations in strategic locations. Michael Keating, the founder of Scoot, estimates that unlimited monthly use will cost $100 to $150 — about the price of an adult Muni Fast Pass ($62) and a few cab rides.

Keating told the Ex:

“If someone needs to get from North Beach to the SoMa district, they could spend $2 for a 15-minute ride on a scooter. We want this to be as convenient as cabs for half the price, and as cheap as Muni but twice as fast.”

As business grows, Keating predicted rates will be adjusted and more locations will be added. The scooters, which will be brought in from China and replaced every year to ensure tip-top condition, top out at 30 mph and can ride for up to 30 miles.

Now here’s the cool part:

To activate the scooters, riders will place their smartphones in a protected center console. The phone will act as a virtual dashboard and provide info about speed and traffic routes and conditions.

For now, the mopeds are available to private businesses only. However, Keating hopes that by the time it’s introduced to the public, his scooters will account for 10 percent of all trips made in San Francisco.