News at Mason
Better scoot to that class or meeting
September 18, 2019 / by Lauren Reuscher
You’ve probably seen them parked on sidewalks around town. Dockless electric scooters are helping people get where they want to go—providing an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to driving.
In October, they will land on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus.
Mason is bringing electric scooters to campus in partnership with the City of Fairfax. The city started a dockless scooter pilot program this summer to determine the best way to maximize this new transit option.
“Mason is always looking for ways to improve mobility to and around campus, and scooters align with our sustainability mission by offering an alternative to personal vehicles,” said Carol Kissal, Mason’s senior vice president of administration and finance.
Mason and the City of Fairfax are working with three electric scooter vendors: Bird, Lime and Spin. The vendor apps are used to locate and rent a scooter. Rental rates are typically about $1 per use, plus an additional fee, typically less than 50 cents per minute.
“Once the university finalizes agreements with each of the three vendors, scooters will be placed for use on campus and to connect to areas outside campus,” said Josh Cantor, Mason’s director of parking and transportation.
Considering substantial pedestrian traffic and construction on the Fairfax Campus, safety will be a crucial part of the program’s success, Kissal said.
“We are establishing policies around scooter usage and are conducting safety outreach and awareness across campus,” she said.
A proposed policy would generally prohibit scooter use on sidewalks.
“Scooters, bikes, and golf carts should use campus roadways, particularly bike lanes,” Cantor said. “We are working to address pedestrian safety concerns, particularly on campus pathways that are narrow and crowded.”
To keep the scooters organized and ensure sidewalks and walkways remain accessible, the university is designating scooter parking areas around campus. Many will be located near bike racks or transit areas.
Parking and Transportation plans to partner with academic departments to facilitate research related to the use of scooters.
Patriots can test a scooter as part of Rock the Block on Friday, Sept. 27. Scooters will be stationed by Peterson Hall, where Mason students and employees can pick one up and ride to the event in Old Town Fairfax.
Traci Kendall, executive director of Mason’s Office of Community and Local Government Relations, sees this as a valuable opportunity for the university to work with its neighbors and enhance transit options around campus.
“This is one of many ways the city and university partner together to improve town-gown relations and the quality of life for both our students and surrounding community members,” she said.
For more information about the scooters, check out this video produced by the City of Fairfax.