Whether it be Lime scooters and e-bikes, Raider Ride or Zipcar, Texas Tech added more alternative transportation options on campus this past year.
Stacy Stockard, media relations coordinator at Tech Transportation and Parking Services, said the department put out a Request for Proposal, which selected Lime as the provider for scooters and e-bikes on campus.
“We were really looking for someone that would be a good partner in it,” she said. “One that the scooters and the e-bikes to be a great addition to what our students can use for transportation modes.”
Cassidy Campos, a freshman education major from Austin, said the scooters have become a popular choice for student to get across campus.
“If I am running late, they help me get to class quickly,” Campos said. “If I could change something, I would have people check for broken ones more.”
Currently, Stockard said one of the improvements was creating designated parking across campus for the Lime scooters.
“We worked with Lime to determine what would be the best places for those that would be good for campus and convenient for users,” she said. “We work and make sure continually that those are in good spaces.”
Improving the safety of Lime scooters is another goal Stockard said TPS works to achieve.
“The messaging that you see when you log in to a scooter and open that, encouraging the use of helmets,” Stockard said.
In addition to the presence of Lime scooters, students may use other modes of transportation on campus.
Neil Kilcrease, assistant director of TPS, said Tech combined Safe Ride and Night Owl into one service this past year.
“We now have more hours, more resources in house, and it is cost saving for students,” Kilcrease said. “Citibus originally ran both, and they did a great job before we decided to move that in house. We wanted to stretch transportation funds as far as we could.”
Last fall, Kilcrease said Raider Ride had 24,973 completed trips with a wait time of 17 minutes. This semester, he said there have been 16,806 rides with a wait time of 14 and a half minutes.
“We learned a lot by bringing it in house,” Kilcrease said. “We are very proud of the service and how it has been managing. We are striving to add more student drivers. If we go from the 15 to 20, we can get the program where it needs to be.”
Despite the need to travel within the bounds of campus, students may need leave campus as well.
Zipcar is a car-sharing service Tech added this year, Stockard said. The RFP for it had been in the works for a while.
“It just took a while for the technology and resources we have on campus to really match with what’s out there,” she said. “So, hopefully, that’s another option, as we see more and more students each year who choose to not bring a vehicle with them. So, we’re hopeful that that could fill a gap in means for those who just need that momentary usage of a vehicle.”
For people who want to utilize the service, Stockard said the two campus Zipcars are in the Z-2 parking lot by The Commons.
“Just like Lime, it’s through an app on your phone, and when you first apply, you’ll apply to the company, and you’ll get a Zipcard. So, it looks kind of like a credit card, and that’s what you’ll use to unlock the vehicle when you have your time,” she said. “You can go online, rent the times that you want for as little as an hour and up to a week.”
Whether one needs a road trip or a run to the store, Stockard said Zipcar can be an option. The cost includes insurance, so one needs to be a licensed driver somewhere not limited to the United States.
When getting to campus, she said 54 percent of students use alternative methods of transportation, which are anything besides a single occupancy vehicle.
“With so much growth of student housing near campus, with the implementation of the apartment bus routes, the bike lanes that you see through areas, like in Tech Terrace and also Overton; all these changes have really helped facilitate that use of alternative transportation,” Stockard said. “As the opportunities and technology out in the world grow, we always want to see if there’s something that might be a good fit and helpful for our students and employees.”