Picture this: a student seamlessly moving through the streets equipped with a helmet and backpack, passing by pedestrians and accelerating under the palm trees. He arrives to class on time having successfully bypassed most on-campus foot traffic and avoided the challenge of maneuvering a bulky bike.
According to Spin, a shared electric scooter company, this vision will soon be a reality.
The company, which began as a San Francisco startup in 2016, is now partnering with the University of Miami’s parking and transportation services to bring ride and park scooters to campus.
“We want to get the word out about Spin because I feel that these scooters will serve as a transformable way of mobility on campus for students and reduce traffic,” said Samantha Jimenez, the parking and transportation co-liaison for student government. “Overall, this is a viable tool that can make getting around easier and practical.”
The scooters will not be permitted on sidewalks, so there should not be issues with pedestrians, Jimenez said.
Syed also addressed concerns from the community about potential safety hazards that these high-speed scooters could bring on campus.
“Safety is also one of our most important concerns,” Syed said. “With this new tool for mobility, we want to encourage students to be cautious when operating it and be respectful of pedestrians and sidewalks. By exercising these habits I feel that these scooters can be a very safe and useful transportation option.”
Spin scooters provide individuals with personal mobility in the Coral Gables area and an environmentally-friendly alternative to other transportation options.
“I think that there are a number of ways that the Spin scooters can benefit students and the broader community,” said Nabil Syed, the southeast regional general manager of Spin. “This can be another option for more mobility and eliminates parking concerns.”
Syed also cited the scooters’ affordability, speed and independence from unreliable public transportation systems as benefits to Spin.
Users can pick up a scooter through the Spin app, which is available for free on the IOS and Android stores. The app tracks where scooters are located to make finding transportation easy and effective. Users can unlock scooters using the app and ride them anywhere in Coral Gables.
“The addition of the Spin scooters to UM will definitely be convenient because there will be more of a variety of transportation for the student body,” said sophomore Sasa Middleton. “One of my classes is more than 20 minutes away from my other classes, so instead of walking or waiting for the shuttle, it would be so much easier and stress free to have access to a scooter.”
However, the process for returning the scooters is more specific. On campus, Spin scooters must be parked adjacent to a bike rack. Off campus, users can park the scooters on any public property in Coral Gables.
“The Spin staff also check the scooters daily to make sure they are in the right position and working correctly, so by taking these extra measures it reduces safety risks,” Jimenez said.
Spin scooters will not be directly deployed on campus, but they will be readily available nearby at Red Road Commons, Miracle Mile, Merrick Park and other areas around UM. If a student wishes to bring a scooter to campus, they must pick it up off campus and ride it to the university.
“I think that by bringing in the Spin scooters, it would give us more of a variety for transportation,” said Leslie Dominique, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. “Sometimes students have to race to class at the last minute and that’s when these scooters would come in handy.”
“We are very grateful for the university to allow Spin to be used on campus,” Syed said. “We want to ensure that the community will have a convenient way of transporting in order to save time, space and clutter.”