Skootel expands its footprint by adding 120 shared bicycles
Skootel, a company dedicated to the micromobility sector in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, launched the first shared bicycles system in the island, expanding its alternative transportation offerings beyond its familiar electric scooters.
Company partners and Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, Juan Carlos Parra and Aldo Briano announced an initial investment of $250,000 in the acquisition of 120 units, which will be available for rent in the San Juan metropolitan area starting next week.
They will be known as biciPOP as part of a partnership with Banco Popular, they said.
“In 2019 we launched electric scooters to facilitate mobility to people 18 and older in what is known as the last mile, or short distances, like getting to work, college or a special event. In three years, Skootel has gained acceptance, proving that it truly satisfied a market need,” said Parra, the company’s CEO.
“We are now launching electric bicycles, which are perfect for traveling three to five miles, while enjoying the convenience of assistive pedaling. This is an important step to continue optimizing transportation in Puerto Rico, while positioning the island up to par with other advanced international cities which have adopted these eco-friendly micromobility options,” he said.
Meanwhile, María Cristina González, executive vice-president of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at the financial institution said, “Banco Popular seeks to support innovative projects that have a positive impact to the environment. biciPOP, is an example, a bicycle that allows micromobility, via alternative transportation, is eco-friendly and healthy. We continue to bet on ideas that drive and inspire us to see beyond what we know and that continue to position Puerto Rico in the innovation map.”
To rent biciPOPs, the user must download an application. After completing a brief form to demonstrate a minimum age of 18 or older, the user should provide the payment method and accept the terms. Users under 21 also need to include their father, mother, or legal tutor’s email address to notify the usage of the bicycles. One dollar is required to start the trip plus $0.30 per minute for the rental.
The unit must be parked in one of more than 200 bicycle racks located at San Juan, whose locations can be found in the same application. If this rule is not followed, the user will be penalized by applying ongoing charges, company officials said.
Through a geolocation function, the company can identify those cases to send Skootel’s personnel to the exact location and move the unit to a nearby rack.
As a dissuasive, if inappropriate behavior persists, users are exposed to denial of access to the service in the future. Besides promoting the use of existing racks, the company is in negotiations with several businesses to use their private racks and establish new ones.
“The biciPOPs have a modern and comfortable design created by one of the leading shared e-bikes manufacturers in the world, the same company that provides us with the scooters. They offer assistive electric pedaling up to a regulated speed of 15 miles per hour, using a rechargeable battery that can travel over 120 miles,” said Skootel COO Briano.
“They are also equipped with an adjustable seat and a convenient basket to carry light items. Its virtual security system blocks the back tire once the usage time is over and they have an alarm that activates a noise to promote riders to follow usage rules, besides they are also always monitored with a GPS system,” he said.
To incentivize the usage during the launching period, the first 5,000 users who enter the code biciPOP when renting the units will receive a $5 credit to use the bicycles. The promotion will be effective until December 2022.
Skootel currently employs 50 and, with the launching of biciPOP, it is expected to add 15 new jobs to its payroll.