LAS CRUCES – Rental scooters made their debut on New Mexico State University’s main campus in January, and after a 60-day trial period it appears they are here to stay.
The university’s police chief questioned the scooters’ legality in an email to administration, but the concerns are not enough to dissuade officials from going forward with a request for proposals.
San Francisco-based scooter company Spin, owned by the Ford Motor Company, introduced 100 battery-operated kick scooters onto campus on Jan. 18. The scooters are rented through Spin’s mobile phone app and do not work off campus.
Except for a brief interruption immediately after the launch, arising from a dispute with a local contractor, the scooters have been a familiar sight on campus.
In February, Spin reported 7,323 trips and 3,119 registered users in the first month of service to NMSU administrators and the student government.
Emerson Morrow, who was president of the Associated Students of NMSU until he stepped down on April 12, told the Sun-News the scooters are a win for students, staff and visitors to campus.
“We have a large campus that’s spread out, and nice weather most of the year,” Morrow said. “This is an ideal opportunity to explore the different ways to get around.”
Morrow said working with Spin preempted the possibility of another company simply launching scooters on campus without talking to administration, a practice called “rogue launching” in the scooter industry.
In March, NMSU and Spin extended the company’s exclusive service agreement for an additional 60 days while the university gathers proposals from scooter providers for service beginning in August.
The request for proposals closes at 2 p.m. on April 30 and is accessible through NMSU’s online bidding system.
The Sun-News examined 275 pages of emails obtained through a public records request. The communications indicate the administration was planning for scooters to remain as early as the January launch.
In a group email distributed to Chancellor Dan Arvizu and President John Floros among other university officials, NMSU’s former associate vice president for facilities and services Glen Haubold wrote, “The President asked us to review the proposals for scooters, we need to complete this before the 60 days are up, and we are assuming that the trial will lead to scooters remaining on campus, since we want an agreement in place as opposed to removing scooters until we work one out.”
Haubold retired from NMSU at the end of March.
Although NMSU is not spending money to procure scooter service, Haubold wrote in February that selecting a single vendor allows the university to negotiate and enforce terms.