A Chattanooga company is expanding downtown electric scooter rentals to include pickup and drop-off services on the North Shore, Southside, and off the Riverwalk
According to Carolina Molloy, co-owner of Adventure Sports Innovation, ChattaScooter plans to set up additional websites for renting and dropping off the e-scooters early next year, for example around the Tennessee Aquarium and UTC.
“We understand the ban on scooters without a dock,” she said of the city’s regulations. “This corresponds to the existing guidelines.”
In February, the city council indefinitely banned controversial dockless electric scooter companies from coming to Chattanooga after some expressed interest.
Many communities had reported problems with dumped and scrapped vehicles, drivers raced on sidewalks instead of roads, and there were an increased number of accidents.
Molloy said ChattaScooter is different because the stand-up scooters can only be rented and dropped off at the company’s locations. Currently, the locations are at Adventure Sports, 191 River St .; One Riverside Apartments, 950 Riverside Parkway; and The Local Juicery and Kitchen, 48 E. Main St., she said.
To ensure the scooters aren’t parked on city streets or sidewalks, the renter’s credit card will continue to be charged unless the vehicle is properly dropped off, Molloy said.
“Fees up to $ 1,000 will still be charged,” she said. “That’s a pretty big incentive not to leave it in the middle of a curb.”
ChattaScooter is expanding the e-scooter network in the city center
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The Local Juicery is the youngest company to join the ChattaScooters network just last week.
Luis Contreras, team leader at The Local Juicery, said he looks forward to bringing the convenience of the scooters to residents and visitors to the city.
“We are definitely seeing the growing demand for more choices in urban transportation,” he said.
Its price is $ 24 an hour, or 40 cents a minute, billed per minute through a Levy Inc. phone app, Molloy said. Daily and longer term rentals are available through Adventure Sports Innovation in Chattanooga.
While ChattaScooter launched this summer with a limited initial fleet of vehicles, the company is planning more scooters and locations as demand rises in the spring, Molloy said. There are currently 15 scooters in its fleet, she said.
“We’re trying to set up the structure for spring and summer,” said Molloy. “We want to make sure we iron out all the kinks. Winter is the slow months. It’s a good time to test this structure.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Molloy believes the scooters are safe.
“They don’t share public transportation,” she said. “You have your own transportation. You can be socially distant from everyone else.”
With ChattaScooter, people aged 16 and over can rent the e-scooter with a smartphone and a credit or debit card, according to the business owner.
The speed of the scooters is limited to 15 mph, she said. While the scooters can go faster, the company wants people to be careful, especially first-time renters, Molloy said, adding that it also offers helmets.
But when the scooter is in sport mode there is more acceleration, she said.
The idea behind the scooters is mostly for the drivers to have fun, although the addition of the Main Street business to the network allows for transportation between the North Shore and Southside, Molloy said.
Adventure Sports Innovation was introduced to their store in Coolidge Park in July 2018 by Molloy and co-owner husband Patrick. The company calls itself an adventure store with some of the latest recreational technology.
Molloy said 2020 has been tough for business, as it has been for many others, but she continues to have a positive outlook.
“Once we have a vaccine, everyone who’s cooped up will want to go on outdoor adventures,” she said. “That’s mainly what it’s about.”
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.