Moving around Tbilisi is somewhat problematic. Pedestrians are constantly forced to find their way around the cars parked right on the sidewalks, and drivers won’t be able to tell you if they get to their destination faster by car or on foot.
While strolling through the streets of Tbilisi, I noticed more and more colorful scooters happily passing through – in all the chaos the tiny scooters definitely have some authority. It hasn’t been long since many people started using scooters, but their number is steadily growing. So, I decided to find out more about this new trend and I went to one of the famous local stores, Scoot Scoot.
The store isn’t easy to find, but that doesn’t stop them from delivering their products to clients. I found out that apart from used scooters, they import brand new ones as well, mainly Honda and Vespa models from India. Here, scooters are the main transports and they have century-long experience in production.
Giorgi: Mainly, we import Vespa and Honda. I have to say, that Vespa is one of the most interesting brands that became affordable for Georgians thanks to us. Before, it was thought to be a very expensive product for the European market, but when we found Indian factories, they enabled us to sell these scooters for as low as 5,000 Gel. Because of this, we are proud to see a lot of Vespas in the city and the usage makes us very happy.
Explained Giorgi Monavardisashvili, one of the founders of Scoot Scoot. He couldn’t help himself and let me in on a little bit of the scooter’s history as well:
Giorgi: This brand [Vespa] has existed since 1946. After world war two, they built the first scooter with the leftovers from airplanes and other parts. Because it’s the first and has such a history, Vespa is like a cult brand. We see it in such movies as “Roman holiday.”
As I mentioned above, besides the new scooters, Scoot Scoot also imports used scooters from Japan. This enables them to have a very diverse price range, from 1,500 to 6,500 Gel. So, basically, anyone who might want a scooter can definitely find one here.
Scoot Scoot also offers repair services, paint services, and they even teach “how to ride” scooter classes.
Giorgi: We teach how to drive to those who don’t know, free of charge. Soon, we want to have one day in the week for beginners, where everyone can come and learn how to drive, it doesn’t matter how many there will be.
Why did you start Scoot Scoot?
Giorgi: Scoot Scoot was founded by me and my friend, Giorgi Poporidze. When the doors to India opened up for Georgia due to cheap flights, we went to Goa. We were very impressed by their free lifestyle, and scooters in this freedom were probably the most important part. There was no problem at all with moving around the city when on a scooter. That’s when we realized that scooters are best at exploring new cities, and we decided to bring them into Tbilisi too.
Our initial goal was to rent them out to tourists, so they could see more of Tbilisi, but we had to cancel the service because there was no culture for it yet. In Goa, everyone knows how to drive a scooter and you easily get a grip on it too. Here in Georgia, people, mainly Georgians, would often return broken scooters. So, we decided to concentrate on locals and popularize our product first. I have to admit that we’re very impressed with the results and I believe that soon we will be all over the whole country.
What can you say about the brand itself?
Giorgi: It’s a very colorful brand. We try to run our company just like the scooter – free and direct, the same as the community we gathered. I know every owner of the first 100 scooters we sold, and I’m really happy that we still communicate. The trust factor is really important for us, so we have very direct, informal relationships with our clients. We often have meet-ups, where we conquer the streets of Tbilisi. The scooter is new to this city and just like it, we are free from all kinds of stereotypes.
Why should you buy scooters?
Giorgi: I believe that there are two reasons to buy a scooter. First of all, having a scooter is really cheap. It burns five to six times less petrol than a car. With ten Gel’s worth of petrol, you can run around for a week. Repairs on a scooter are also a lot easier.
The second reason, which is probably more important, is its smartness. If you have an active lifestyle, you do everything really fast. If you need to move around a lot, have meetings, go to the bazaar, and have an active style of living then you need something quick: a scooter. Here, everybody complains that they spend a lot of time on the road, and a scooter basically eliminates this problem from your life. You don’t have to worry about traffic or parking either.
Apart from all of this, you take better care of nature too. Five to six times less petrol means five to six times less pollution, and this makes you feel kinda good. Some people complained about why we weren’t selling some models anymore. Well, the reason we stopped carrying those scooters is simple – they are still produced in the old manner and create a lot of pollution. We try to pay attention to that too and import only more eco-friendly scooters.
These are probably the main technical reasons. However, there is one more emotional benefit: you feel free when you’re sitting on a scooter. Stereotypes don’t matter to you, stereotypes that say you should have a big black jeep. People have been talking about how Georgia needs fast economic growth. Well, for this growth you need to be fast too, fast and flexible. You shouldn’t be spending so much time on the road, and a scooter solves that problem very easily.
I left the Scoot Scoot office with far more to think about than when I entered. I had to attend another meeting now, somewhere else in the city. On my way, from first waiting for the bus for quite some time, and then standing in traffic for even longer, I found myself certain that I would come back to Scoot Scoot for my first scooter soon.