Relatively cheap, easy to ride, and with unmatchable fuel efficiency, scooters are becoming the economical choice for thousands of Houstonians.
“It’s like riding a couch. You hold in the brake, which is a safety feature since it’s automatic. So when you start it you have a brake and then you just push the start button and then all of a sudden it’s just off you go. Twist and go. That’s another name they have for scooters. You just twist the throttle and you go. It can’t be easier than that.”
Business is good for Matthew Creed, the owner of Apollo Scooters here in Houston. Between a steady stream of customers at his store on Richmond, Creed is busy with plans to open another location in Galveston.
“There are sometimes when I walk in 20 minutes early to open up the store and there is already five people waiting to get in my door.”
There are dozens of different types of scooters to choose from, ranging from $1000 for a basic model to rides that cost up to $7000.
“Somebody says, hey, I need a 20 mile each way commute. I have to get on the highway. Well, in that case I’d probably move them up to higher-quality scooters, the Aprilia’s or the Kymco’s. They can last anywhere from 30 to 40 years. They can take the wear and tear of a good 100 miles a day if they had to.”
But for most customers, gas mileage is the bottom line. Creed says scooters are hard to beat when it comes to fuel efficiency.
“We’ve had people say that they’ve gotten as much as 110 miles to the gallon. I would say normally you could probably expect, you know everybody drives different, but if you just ride within the speed limit, typically you’re going to look between 70-80 miles to the gallon on the average.”
David and Debbie Weldon live in Humble and are considering a new scooter for short trips and for something to use with a motor home they plan to purchase soon.
“I’m more of a conservationist then an environmentalist, but green is good. Absolutely, everybody should be taking care of things that burn less fuel, less emissions. It’s a win-win.”
Even people who depend on vehicles for their jobs are riding scooters these days. Deliveryman David Shimek hasn’t owned a car for 30 years and gets around town on a Yamaha Vino.
“I prefer it over a motorcycle. You know, you can carry your groceries in between your legs and it’s good for all kinds of errands. There’s room under the seat for bringing things you need.”
Texas law still requires a license and insurance for scooters.