UT implemented a wave of regulations on dockless scooters in the spring, which stadium attendees now face during the new football season.
UT Parking and Transportation banned scooters around the stadium block and the streets around the stadium earlier last fall. During the spring, PTS imposed speed restrictions, designated parking and a $150 impoundment fee for violations. Blanca Gamez, associate director of transportation for PTS, said similar rules are in place with other large-scale events that happen on campus and in Austin.
“If you have been on campus on game day, you know how crowded it can be around stadium block,” Gamez said. “Operating a scooter through 100,000 people, from little kids to those who are differently-abled, is not the best idea.”
Veronica Trevino, media manager for Financial and Administrative Services Communications, said in an email that PTS impounded 40 scooters last football season during the first two games without the new spring regulations. Gamez said PTS, with help from scooter companies, has not impounded any scooters around the stadium so far this semester.
Gamez said PTS met with scooter companies Lime and Bird to brief them about the game day regulations. The companies partnered with the University and have been working to comply with regulations by placing scooters away from the stadium and picking up those they find near the restricted block, Gamez said.
“We have a really good working relationship with each company,” Gamez said. “They understand the importance of not having scooters mix with 100,000 people. Safety is their number one push as well. They get and understand they need to be proactive in intercepting those scooters.”
There are usually 200 to 300 officers at game day, and 50 to 60 of them patrol the intersections around the stadium, said Robert Stock, UT Police Department captain. He said UTPD officers educate those who violate the regulations and issue administrative citations more than they impound scooters. Stock said most of the violators are not students, but people who are not familiar with the regulations.
“That word didn’t get out as well as it did this year,” Stock said. “Now that we are more familiar with some of the problems we have been having, we can rectify those with some of the officers that are working the events.”
Chemical engineering sophomore Ethan Keller said he has been going to all the home football games since his freshman year and often uses scooter services to get to the stadium from his off-campus housing. He said keeping people who are unfamiliar with scooters away from the stadium on game day is a good idea, but the regulations have added some time to his travel this football season.
“Restricting people’s, especially students who live in West Campus, mobility to the game is not ideal, either,” Keller said. “I feel like there could be a more equitable solution.”