Carpool app Scoop launches for Detroit commuters

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Carpooling app Scoop CEO Robert Shadow, and Kevin Bopp, vice president of parking and mobility for Bedrock, speak Wednesday. Detroit is the first major market outside of the West Coast for Scoop.

Carpooling app Scoop is looking to change up commutes in Metro Detroit.

Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert's real estate business, Bedrock LLC, helped San Francisco-based Scoop Technologies launch this week in the region to promote shared rides into the city of Detroit by connecting commuters with neighbors and nearby workers, making carpooling flexible and making payments convenient.

"A lot of time we hear people drive to work, and they feel depleted before they’re even at the office," Scoop CEO Robert Sadow said during a panel Wednesday on mobility projects Bedrock is leading in the city. "They’ve already gone through battle before they even cross the threshold of their job.

"We take that request and tens of thousands of other requests and basically solve what’s the most effective way to get this entire group of people from home to work or work to home. ... You can actually dynamically get to work but in a comfortable way with a coworker or neighbor."

Detroit is Scoop's sixth major metropolitan market in the United States and the first outside the West Coast. The company contracts with local employers to launch its service in new cities, to market to the community and to scale the service, but the option is available to anyone who is commuting to and from seven Detroit zip codes in and around downtown: 48201, 48226, 48202, 48207, 48208, 48216 and 48209.

Riders download the Scoop app and schedule their rides the night prior for the morning and in the afternoon for the evening commute, and the app will connect them with a driver for the most efficient trip based on route and nearby carpoolers. The first carpool is available at 5 a.m. and the last is available at 8:40 p.m.

Riders have to enter a credit card number to pay for the trip. Fees are based on demand, distance and the number of other carpoolers. A 15- to 20-mile ride could cost $3-$4, Sadow said.

Scoop also guarantees riders a trip home. If an emergency pulls a rider home early or overtime delays their trip, Scoop will pay for the alternative means the rider chooses to take, Sadow said.

Vehicle owners also can sign up to be a driver. Scoop conducts a motor vehicle history and driving record check before drivers can start, though there is no formal background check. Drivers receive reimbursement for the trip in the app, which they can put toward future trips or withdraw.

Scoop has facilitated more than 6 million carpool trips since 2015 in the San Francisco Bay Area; Seattle; Reno, Nevada; Portland, Oregon; and Los Angeles.

Signs indicate the service already is taking off in Metro Detroit. There were nearly 1,100 residents registered with the app last week. Since Bedrock began promoting the service, another 1,300 signed up. On Monday's launch, there were nearly 100 rides that included at least two people.

The carpool service is the latest mobility company with which Bedrock has partnered. In June, Bedrock launched an autonomous shuttle in downtown with Ann Arbor-based May Mobility to take its employees from parking docks to their offices, increasing shuttle use by more than 25%, Bopp said.

It also is working with Seattle mobility management software provider Luum to provide incentives to employees who do not drive individually to work. Since the launch last fall, the company has seen a 6% increase in alternative transit use among participating employees, and with the Scoop partnership, Bopp said he hopes that will increase since Bedrock is offering its employees discounts on the platform.

The city of Detroit is planning to work with Scoop to expand the option beyond downtown, Mark de La Vergne, Detroit's mobility innovation chief, said in a statement. Bedrock also is introducing Scoop to large suburban employers to help Detroit residents who may be commuting to surrounding communities, Bopp said.

"This is not an insular launch," he said. "This is for every single person that commutes to the city and back home again. That's what we're trying to achieve: a better, cohesive environment of mobility and transit options."