Photo by Katie Nichols | Sophomores Caroline Puryear and Andie Parady play around with a Bird scooter in the commuter parking lot outside of A.B. Cohen Center.
Birds have landed on campus. The electric vehicle sharing service, Bird, seemed to flock to Cincinnati overnight after the scooters appeared scattered around Downtown in late July. Since then, the scooters have migrated from Downtown and Over the Rhine to Norwood and Clifton near Xavier and UC campuses. The environmentally friendly transportation service can also be seen in major cities like Los Angeles and Austin, and Bird is continuing its expansion into cities all across the country and the world. But as Bird expands its services, there have been a few bumps in the road.
When signing up for the Bird app, there are a few requirements of riders: be 18 years or older with a driver’s license, wear a helmet, do not ride on sidewalks and park scooters clear of public walkways. With a base fee of $1.00 and an additional 15 cents per minute, the scooters are a fairly cheap way to get around town. But many cities have experienced a love-hate relationship with Bird scooters.
According to WSMV in Nashville, Bird scooters were pulled off the streets back in June for “safety concerns and lack of regulation.” The main concerns included people riding scooters on sidewalks and parking them incorrectly. While the scooters have since returned to the streets of Nashville, some cities aren’t so forgiving. Boston’s mayor Marty Walsh warned the company that if they dropped of scooters in the city, they could “pick them up at the tow yard.”
At Xavier, spirits regarding the scooters are flying a bit higher. “I personally think that they are a good start to giving students a better way to get around campus and some closer places in Norwood without needing to drive,” senior Jonathan Duffy said. Duffy, a board member for Xavier Student Sustainability, said he believes Xavier is taking a step toward in trying to become more sustainable and setting an example for students and the community. Duffy hopes the Bird scooters are a stepping stone to implement other sustainable initiatives on campus, related to transit or otherwise.
Despite rumors, Senior Director for Student Affairs Lori Lambert said, “As far as I know there have not been any incidents within the buildings where a student has been documented for having a Bird scooter.”
Unlike with Lime, Xavier does not have any partnership with Bird. Similarly with Cincinnati, Bird scooters just appeared around the perimeter of campus. Director of Utilities and Energy at the Office of Physical Plant Mark Hanlon said there’s always concern about student safety with the new ride sharing programs. “Ride sharing and mobility is something we’re all looking forward to,” Hanlon said.
For some final words on safety as Xavier enters the ride sharing community, Hanlon said, “We strongly encourage everyone to wear a helmet.”
By: Hannah Paige Michels | Staff Writer