By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Forget about sprinting across campus.
University of Nebraska at Kearney students have a much quicker option when they’re running late to class.
They can hop on an electric scooter instead.
UNK recently approved an agreement that allows dockless electric scooter company Goat to operate on campus.
Pending contract completion, nine Segway-brand scooters will be available next week for students, staff, faculty and visitors who want to zip around on the two-wheeled transportation devices. If the initial launch is a success, up to 11 additional scooters could be added to the rental program.
“One of our biggest goals here at UNK is to keep up with new trends and ensure those offerings are available for students,” said Michael Christen, director of business services at UNK. “We want to meet student demands and be ahead of the game, rather than play catch-up.”
UNK is the first University of Nebraska campus to allow e-scooters.
“They are popular, they add to the student experience and they will set our campus apart from others,” UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said. “Riding the scooters is a fun, enjoyable experience.”
The new e-scooter program is similar to projects previously approved in many U.S. cities, including Omaha.
To rent a scooter, riders must download the Goat mobile app and create an account. Then you simply scan a QR code to unlock the device and away you go. It costs $1 to start a scooter and 15 cents for every minute of use.
The scooters will be available year-round from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, unless hazardous conditions such as ice or snow are present. They can be operated within a boundary that encompasses the UNK campus, including University Village south of U.S. Highway 30. The devices will shut off if they leave this area.
The scooters are allowed on sidewalks, but they’re prohibited on streets, except at crossings. They must be parked at designated bicycle racks in a manner that doesn’t block sidewalks, other pedestrian pathways or building access.
“We have a responsibility to make sure our campus is safe, but we have students who are responsible and mature,” Kristensen said. “I don’t think we’re going to have many issues.”
Because the program isn’t affiliated with UNK, riders use the scooters at their own risk through an agreement with the operating company.
Verbeck Transportation Services of Minden, an owner-operator for Goat, will deliver, pick up, charge and maintain the scooters each day.
Here are a few more rules to remember:
- Electric scooters aren’t allowed inside any buildings on campus
- Only one rider at a time
- Scooters must yield to pedestrians
- Both wheels must remain on the ground; no tricks or stunts
- Helmets are recommended; the use of headphones, earbuds or mobile devices while riding isn’t encouraged.