That shiny new electric scooter you see on the sidewalk is not a Christmas gift some kid forgot to put away. If you’re in Andalusia or Brewton, they are the latest form of transportation, a cross between mass transit and entertainment.
The scooters belong to a new company called WeGo Scooters, the brainchild of Cole Smith and Faith Wilson, partners in this venture, which is literally off and rolling. They got the idea from a similar business in Cincinnati. Since starting about six months ago, they have placed 75 scooters in each town, providing everything from basic transportation to an outdoor activity.
Here’s how it works. The electric scooters are charged up and placed around town, most often on sidewalks or central locations. Each is equipped with a GPS. Anyone who wants to ride a scooter uses an app called “Bird” to register and lock in a form of credit. The app shows the location of the scooters and their level of electric charge. Once a customer decides to ride one, a quick scan of a code activates it for a charge of one dollar. After that, it’s 49 cents a mile. When riders are done, they can simply leave the scooter on any sidewalk. As they need charging, the staff picks them up and gets them juiced for their next run. And yes, they’re street legal.
Smith said there are a wide variety of customers.
“Commuters use them, college students,” said Smith. “We can even have one fully charged and delivered. They’ll go up to 25 miles at 20 miles per hour.”
Carley Turner is a regular rider, enjoying the new option of transportation.
“They’re fun,” said Turner. “The ride is smooth, it’s not dangerous. We use them to get to work, and ride them for fun.”
Turner added that soaring gas prices make the scooters cost-effective when running small errands, like going to the store to pick up some drinks. Perfect for a destination that might be too far for a walk or too short to bother using a car.
Smith said it’s important that riders leave scooters on sidewalks when they’re done riding, making sure they don’t block anything.
“And don’t forget the kickstand,” said Smith.
WeGo also has a Facebook page where you can find out more: https://www.facebook.com/WegoScooters/
As for his partnership with Wilson, it’s a 50/50 split. Their relationship is also on a roll, since they’re engaged to be married.
So, when you tell someone in Andalusia or Brewton to “step on it” you might not be referring to the gas pedal.
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