Sept. 29 was a pretty average Saturday on California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) campus, that is, except for one seemingly small change that would go on to impact the entire campus and it’s community for an unknown amount of time. Or, realistically, the next couple of weeks. This change was the appearance of Lime electric scooters popping up around campus. These relatively meaty scooters boast a fittingly lime green colour scheme, the words “$1 to start” brazenly scrawled across them and a handy QR code that interfaces with their app to get you mounted and speeding away in a few seconds.
They started popping up in small banks assembled neatly outside of areas of the main campus and housing areas, but things escalated more than I, or anyone, could have guessed. What seemed like a slightly extra way of getting to class faster turned the campus into a strange video game world in which one walks up to a stray vehicle, presses a button, then speeds to their destination- discarding and forgetting about their vehicle upon arrival.
I realize that was all a bit dramatic, but I don’t think negatively of Lime- and neither do I think they are a detriment to the campus or the community. The San Francisco-based transportation company first launched last year and has since begun operating its brightly-colored scooters in more than 100 different locations. They are clean-energy vehicles in being all-electric and they even offer an opportunity for students to make money by taking the scooters into their places of living and charging them.
They have already littered almost every major walkway and sidewalk on campus
All that being said, I think it will be very interesting to keep an eye on how the scooters usage and user base changes over the coming weeks. They have already littered almost every major walkway and sidewalk on campus with black scuff marks from their tires, and while their app insists you wear a helmet while you ride, I’ve seen maybe one of the dozens of riders on campus following that advice.
Not to mention the wild west nature of their use, having them barreling down sidewalks filled with students on foot, finding herds of scooters with dead batteries standing ominously around student housing complexes at the end of the day and the odd scooter that has just been pushed over into the dirt or left in the middle of a path.
I think the scooters undoubtedly have potential to increase the quality of life for students getting around campus, but I think the execution and regulation of their continued use will really be the linchpin of their long-term effect on the community.