Scooter rental companies discontinue on-campus operations for fall semester

Lauren Abel

Electric scooter rental companies are no longer operating on campus for the fall semester due to decrease in demand for scooter rentals, said Blanca Gamez, associate director of UT Parking and Transportation Services.

Gamez said scooter rental companies Spin, Bird and Lime will not be operating on campus this semester as they allowed their contracts to expire on Aug. 31. The companies are continuing operations in West Campus and surrounding neighborhoods, Gamez said.

Gamez said the companies’ decisions were due to high operational costs and low demand.

“Lyft decided to no longer operate in the city of Austin, so that kind of left us with Spin, Bird and Lime,” Gamez said. “We reached out to them to do a contract renewal, and they decided that they were no longer going to operate on the University campus coming this fall semester.”

Business sophomore Kiryll Pokudin said in a direct message that he uses the rental scooters three to four times a week because they are convenient and save time.

“I would struggle to find alternatives, as the best part of scooters is that you don’t have to own the scooter and can leave it close to your destination,” Pokudin said.

Jackson Reich, a radio-television-film and Plan II sophomore, said in a direct message that although he no longer relies on scooters for transportation, he is still sad to see them taken off campus.

“I think it would be a bummer for the scooters to be taken off UT campus,” Reich said. “I’ll miss those late night scooter rides.”

Whether or not this change is permanent is still unknown, Gamez said. She said PTS will leave the option to renew contracts open.

“If they feel they want to come back in the spring, we can definitely entertain that option and work with them to get a spring permit set up so that they would have access to the University in the spring and all of the summer,” Gamez said.

PTS is actively looking at the available services to see if any adjustments are necessary to compensate for the loss of scooters, Gamez said.

“We did extend shuttle service into the evening hours,” Gamez said. “It operated until 11 p.m., and we extended it until midnight just because we were expecting that more students were going to be on campus a little later.”