It is a model similar to Uber or taxi on demand. One books with an app on a cell phone, and the system proceeds to link a driver with a passenger. To dart between one place and another, however, are scooters, driven by amateur drivers. And the city where the app debuts? Rome, the Italian city with the most scooters.
From California the startup, “Scooterino,” launched in March of 2015 a model of true sharing: in the city that suffers greatly from congested traffic and slow transportation, there is now a way to connect people and share travel expenses.
This is how it works: the client brings up the app and requests a trip indicating from where to where he or she wants to go. A driver on a scooter identifies the client’s position with GPS. When he arrives, he loads the passenger on the scooter and gives him a required helmet. At the end of the trip both participants leave feedback on the app.
Scooterino drivers are insured and must pass an exam given by the company. Scooters in this program do not have taxi meters. Those who travel pay “reimbursement expenses,” which are gas and time. The app does not have a profit goal; therefore, the drivers do not need commercial insurance.
Oliver Page, the founder of the company, is 22 years old. He was born in Rome to American parents. Oliver says that this project is his Italian-American dream. He wanted to apply to Italy the strategies that he learned in his recent years in Silicon Valley: “As an entrepreneur, I see problems as opportunities…and Europe has some situations to resolve. When I had the idea of Scooterino I was in Rome to visit my family who lives there. I was waiting for a bus that didn’t come. I saw darting around all of these scooters coming toward me. And I thought that surely some of these scooters are going in my direction. I left my job in California: I wanted to throw myself into this idea.”
Scooterino has been included in an incubation project called Itech in the Lazio region of Italy for the development of new enterprises. The company also received a 50,000 euro investment from the European Space Agency.
Scooterino has many things in common with American transportation apps like Sidecar and Lyft. To utilize the service you must register and give a credit card. The first thousand subscribers to the site, http://www.scooterino.it, will receive the first trip free. Based on the theme of “strangers that are connected,” similar to Airbnb and BlaBlacar, Scooterino is spawning a revolution in urban transit…on 2 wheels. Mr. Page sees the project as a new opportunity to create communities and a more sustainable future, as it addresses real urban problems: “Ours will be the metropolitan revolution of short-distance trips.”
Great idea. Going to the airport, where do I put my luggage again?