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E-scooters bring university into ride-sharing trend

November 19, 2018

As bike and scooter sharing programs continue to pop up in cities nationwide, the University of Bridgeport has brought the commuting trend to the Park City.

The university has unveiled 75 new e-scooters on campus to expand its on- and off-campus commuting options for students and the city. “Today’s students have technology as a reflex,” said George Estrada, vice president for facilities. “It’s no longer something that is a challenge.”

UB has in past years offered its students different means of transportation, including bus passes, and the college is now moving into ride-sharing apps. The university is also a Zipcar site, which allows students to borrow a docked car through an app.

Much like its Zipcar program, students can access the e-scooters through the Bird app. They only need to have a valid license and a credit or debit card to sign up.

Scooters are available to go wherever the riders want within its given energy level, which lasts roughly 15 miles. Available scooters can be located at any of the campus’ 15 docks, or “nests,” through the in-app map.

Riders need only scan the device and get moving. The cost to activate the Bird is $1, and the fee per minute is 20 cents.

“Now the Bird dovetails into that as the third leg to that stool and gives a whole new dimension to commuting,” Estrada said. “I think that this fits in well with the university’s commuter community.”

The scooters aren’t exclusive to UB students — residents in the community can also access the Bird scooters at the school.

“It becomes a pretty good alternative for doing a commute,” Estrada said. “It’s also the freedom. You’re riding on a scooter similar to being on a bike just being out in the fresh air enjoying a ride. It’s something I think will continue to grow with the campus community and beyond.”

UB is the first site in Connecticut to feature the Bird scooters, though Estrada said the Los Angles-based company has been in discussion with other universities and cities to add more sites. In a relatively brief time, Bird Ride has skyrocketed in the bustling ride sharing market, reportedly reaching a $2 billion valuation in a matter of months.

It joined companies like Lime Bike, which has a presence in New Haven and is being considered by officials throughout Fairfield County, including Bridgeport and Norwalk. Though Stamford doesn’t have a public bike-sharing program, buildings at the Harbor Point development have one of their own.

Jordan.grice@hearstmediact.com

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