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World’s 1st ‘Shared Electric Scooter Fleet’ Unveiled In San Francisco

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Electric scooters for rent in San Francisco. (ScootNetwork.com)

Electric scooters for rent in San Francisco. (ScootNetwork.com)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors president David Chiu were on hand at Civic Center Plaza Wednesday to unveil what was described as the world’s first network of shared electric scooters.

The network was created in part to help reduce traffic in San Francisco and provide a new alternative mode of transportation for those who live or work in the city.

The fleet of Chinese-made bikes, owned by Scoot Networks, are operated by plugging an iPhone or Android smartphone into the dashboard, which will start the vehicle. Renters need to download a special app to be able to participate.

KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

The bikes are available for public use at the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets and garages at Fifth and Mission streets, Ninth and Bryant streets and Second and Brannan streets.

Lee is already a member.

The shared-scooter system functions similarly to the Zipcar system. Drivers must apply for a membership, obtain a login and password, and will be able to rent the scooters for $5 an hour.

Each scooter costs only 18 cents’ worth of power to charge over eight hours, and can travel up to 30 mph, according to the company.

Lee said he likes the fact that the Scoot system allows the city to showcase another alternative form of transportation—especially an alternative to gas-powered vehicles.

“It’s exciting to see this happen in San Francisco,” he said.

Michael Keating, CEO of Scoot Networks, called San Francisco “the city that leads the world in what’s coming next.”

He said he believes the scooters will soon become indispensable to those who try them.

“Once you have a shortcut to anywhere in the city, you don’t want to go back,” he said.

More information on the scooters is available at www.ScootNetworks.com.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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