Bailey Brendel ® Staff Writer |
Minnesota State University, Mankato will partner with a company to provide scooters to the university,. which could give students inexpensive and quick transportation around campus.
The University says it’s been working for years on a plan to introduce inexpensive student transport vehicles to campus. At first they considered providing bikes for students’ use. However, this mode of transportation was not ideal with the winter weather. That is when the conversation switched to electric scooters.
With the scooters, students can go to a charging station, find a scooter to use, put in their desired location and ride. Students are charged 10 cents per minute for scooter use. Students must park scooters in recharging stations before it will stop racking up scooter fees.
Many students are happy to see this new service.
“I think it will help college students be more efficient with their time and make transportation around campus so much easier,” Freshman Hailey Bacon says.
However, there has been a lot of discussion online about how the school should be using its funds for educational purposes,or should not be forcing students to pay for a service.
“I think it is foolish to introduce a service that students will be charged for during a pandemic,” MNSU Student Senator Frank Vondra says.
According to MNSU Student Body President Andrew Trenne, however, that simply isn’t true.
“This [service] is actually free to the university, the way this company operates is simple, they want our business,” he says.
This means the scooter service will not come out of the university’s pocketbook, but the individual students who choose to use this service. However, the school chose the cheapest option for students to use.
“To get to the Centennial Student Union from Crawford, it would take someone around three minutes on a scooter, that is about 30 cents. Compared to using the FlowBird app, which is $3 an hour to park, or a parking pass which costs over $100 for students. So, we have mechanisms that are expensive, but this is a cheaper option that can help get students around faster,” Trenne says.
Other misconceptions are that scooters will be unsafe e, students will take them to places they are not supposed to, or that students will throw them into the fountain.
“I think it is a great idea,” Freshman Abigail Johnson says. “I just wonder what safety protocols they are going to put in place.”
According to Facilities Service Director and Transportation and Parking Administrator David Cowan, “Within the contract we are working on, docking stations would be located around the campus which would allow for a dependable recharging source and would avoid clutter. The last thing we want to see on this campus are electric foot scooters blocking building doorways or being haphazardly dumped on MNSU grounds.”
Cowan says the unsigned contract requires GEO-fenced areas where the scooter signal works. Other areas, including nearby neighborhoods, will be “safe” as the scooters will be banned from those locations, including routes to downtown watering holes.
This is so the University and the City of Mankato can ensure student and resident safety .
MNSU is currently working on signing a contract with a company that will be unveiled April 1. The plan is to implement the scooter program over the summer and have it ready for the Fall 2021.
Header photo by AP.