The ever-visible Spin scooters, which have become fixtures littering the sidewalks and driveways of Athens and Ohio University, will not be returning to the area this spring due to the end of the company’s partnership with the city.
Scooters spear on the OU campus in Spring 2020, providing rides to students and local residents for a fee of $1 per ride and $0.29 per minute. Some students have found the scooters a fun and accessible way to get around the area.
“I thought they were really fun,” said Evie Henderson, a pre-med psychology student. “They’re just nice to be able to get around to class and everything or if you’re in a rush.”
Dylan DeMonte, a second-year political science student, said he frequently noticed students using the scooters in hot weather. However, DeMonte thinks students can find other modes of transportation, like bicycles, to use in the absence of scooters.
Although scooters are no longer an option for local transport, OU Director of Auxiliary Services at the VPFA, Tia Hysell, said students and university workers can still travel for free via other modes of transport. , including CATCAB, daily campus shuttles and public transport in Athens.
“While we are disappointed that electric scooters will not be a micro-mobility option this spring, we continue to offer a variety of ways for students, faculty and staff to get around campus and the surrounding community. from Athens if they’d rather not walk,” Hysell said in a university press release.
According to a announcement on the company’s website, Spin is restructuring its global business model and leaving almost all open permit markets, including Athens. The decision was informed by the uncertainty of the “free for all” market, characterized by the absence of fleet caps, frequent competitive changes and low prices sacrificing quality.
Going forward, the company plans to prioritize profitable growth and focus on operational standards in single-vendor or limited-vendor markets, Spin spokeswoman Sara Dodrill said. Operations will begin to decline in countries such as Spain and Portugal as early as February 2022.
“By gaining the regulatory certainty that cities provide us through limited vendor authorizations, Spin will be able to continue to invest in the infrastructure, technology and operational innovations needed to make high-quality shared micro-mobility services a part of the transportation ecosystem,” Ben Bear, CEO of Spin, said in the announcement.
The decision will affect Spin employees, approximately 25% of whom will be affected by the change. The company is trying to mitigate the impact by offering severance packages, additional allowances for outplacement services and allowing employees to keep their company-issued laptops.
In recent years, micro-mobility, such as electric scooters, have grown in popularity as an efficient and environmentally friendly way to travel short distances. Typically found in major cities and on college campuses, it operates through virtual payment and charges a per-minute rate for its use.
However, the university still offers a shared mobility program which encourages city-approved vendors interested in operating on campus to apply for a partnership.
The city plans to prioritize alternative transportation in the future.
“The City of Athens will continue to evaluate the best ways to create and promote alternative modes of transportation throughout the city, including electric scooters and shared bike programs,” the Services Safety Director said. of Athens, Andy Stone, in a press release.