Guest Opinion | The University Needs to Look into Renting Scooters

Nite Ride and CAMBUS are not reliable and the UI should look into what other colleges and cities are doing.


Meg Doster, News Editor

The University of Iowa covers more than two thousand acres of land, while Iowa City is over 16 thousand acres of land.


I lived in the dorms when I came to the UI four years ago. Like most students, I was limited to only going wherever the CAMBUS traveled and anywhere within a 30 minute walk. Nite Ride is free for UI students, but the wait times are ridiculous.


But, I wasn’t limited to just UI campus — I was limited to one side of the river.


I had one friend who lived on the west side of campus and another friend who lived on the east side. Meeting up was a complicated mess.


Certain CAMBUS vehicles change routes at night. I did not know this until I found myself on the west side of campus, not knowing where I was going.


This left me with two options: I could walk to my dorm from the west side of campus, which would take at least an hour. Or, I could wait for Nite Ride, which meant 45 minutes of waiting in the dark clutching my pepper spray.


The University currently houses over six thousand students, and offers far less than enough parking spaces for each student.


During my freshman year, my friends and I were going to see a movie at a theater that was just a 10-minute drive from campus. But it took us over an hour to walk from our dorm to the Hawk Lot. We ended up missing the movie because of this excursion.


My experience is no different than most students living on campus. Yet, there remains a simple solution for these students’ troubles: rentable electric scooters.


I recently visited my sister in Atlanta, and it was astonishing how easily she gets around the 87,000 acre city.


Companies like Bird and Lime have installed electric scooters around metropolitan cities. Anyone can rent the scooters via their phone app. There is no need to go to a certain place, check a scooter out, and return it to the same place. Just pick one off the street, and park it wherever you are.


Rent fees vary by city. Usually it is around $.15-$.20 per minute. If I had access to a scooter like this when I was stranded on campus, I could have been at my dorm in minutes, and it only would have cost less than $5.


Electric scooters are not only more convenient, but they are also a more eco-friendly option. Scooters run by electricity, not gas. Rented scooters do not waste energy when no one is riding them.


Unlike electric scooters, buses run on gasoline and contribute to air pollution. Buses still go through their routes even if they have no passengers on board


There are three dining halls on the UI campus: Burge, Catlett, and Hillcrest. These dining halls are within walking distance to students who live on campus and those that attend class on campus, with the exception of Mayflower.


Mayflower residence hall is located a mile away from the nearest dining hall, and the students living there are entirely dependent on either walking the mile, or waiting for a CAMBUS that may never come.


Having electric scooters available for students to rent out wherever they go will help the students at Mayflower, help students get from classes that are on opposite sides of campus, limit Nite Ride wait times, and reduce air pollution.


I strongly advise the university, and Iowa City to not lag behind other cities and colleges that have electric scooters. The UI had a deal with Zipcar so students could rent cars. But since the contract ended this past year, the UI has done nothing to find a new company to contract with.


The UI knows that students need help getting around, so why not an electric scooter?