- Mobility solutions company OjO announced on Tuesday that it will provide the first sit-down electric scooter-share service in Austin, TX through a partnership with Bike Share of Austin subsidiary Austin Commuter Scooter, LLC (ACS).
- The dockless scooters, which the company describes as "commute-focused," can be ridden while standing or sitting and are equipped with on-board speakers that can offer navigation, alerts and music through Bluetooth. The OjO scooters in Austin will be capped at 20 mph speeds and have swappable 48-volt lithium ion batteries that last 50 miles on a single charge.
- The scooters are $1.25 to unlock and 18 cents per minute, an OjO spokesperson told Smart Cities Dive. All first-time riders who download the OjO Electric app will receive a $5 credit toward their first ride.
While the OjO Scooters are a bit more expensive to ride than the traditional e-scooters from Bird, Lime or other providers that have dominated the market, consumers are getting what they pay for — a quicker ride, Bluetooth-enabled speakers and the ability to sit.
That option to sit is what makes OjO unique, enabling the service to unlock a level of inclusivity in the scooter market. For some, standing and balancing on a traditional e-scooter can be uncomfortable or difficult, deterring potential riders. Standing can be tiresome on a long commute, hence why OjO dubbed its scooters "commute-focused," for those who need to ride for long periods of time.
The initial pilot will limit riders' journeys — to start, the OjO scooters will only be permitted in the Downtown Austin Project Coordination Zone (pictured below). It is possible that if the pilot is a success, the city could lift these limitations to enable services to neighborhoods beyond those boundaries.
Each scooter has on-board telemetry with live-feed data transmission, allowing OjO to collect usage data that can be shared with ACS for trend analysis and optimization. OjO Electric CEO Max Smith says this shared information enables a "unique partnership" between his company and the city.
Austin is also home to Lyft, Bird, Lime, Jump and Spin scooters.