Motorized scooter rentals coming to Galveston

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new, popular form of rental transportation is coming to Galveston, but it'll look different from other parts of the country.

Ryan O'Neal is bringing motorized scooters to Galveston. His business is called Crab Scooters.

Soon, people will be able to rent a scooter and take it around the island. It's a concept that's thriving in other parts of the country.

"I think it's cool," Dickinson resident Autumn Lively said. "I think people would be able to see downtown a lot more. It would be neat."

"People already treat the beaches bad enough, so seeing scooters lying around the streets would not be good either," Galveston resident Michael Ford said.

The owner said his Galveston business won't be like that. Unlike other companies that leave scooters on the street for people to rent, his program requires users to request a scooter and it gets picked up when they're done riding.

"It's using public property to store your private property to showcase your private property," O'Neal said. "It's irresponsible, and its unsustainable."

Here's how his business works: If you want a scooter, you text the company with your location, and how many you need.

Riders must be 18 and sign a waiver. It costs $15 for the first hour, and $10 for each additional hour.

When complete, Crab Scooters will meet riders and pick up the machine.

The scooters are known as dockless mobility systems. The city of Austin said 300,000 riders used them last month alone.

Safety is a concern. Austin requires companies to have insurance, and next month, will start to crack down on bad riders.

But in October, of the 300,000 rides, scooters accounted for only 14 crashes.

In Galveston, council issued a dockless mobility ordinance in September.

It bans dockless scooter companies until the city develops a permitting process. Crab Scooter is different because the product isn't left on the street.

The Galveston owner plans to start with 10 scooters. He hopes to make them available to customers by the end of January.

"You can't ride one of these things without smiling," O'Neal said. "Without looking around and taking the city in."

Follow Nick Natario on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.