Student just getting back to Charlotte after a summer away may have noticed the cool scooters zipping down the sidewalk, but what they might not know is that these scooters provide inexpensive transportation and can even make them some quick cash.
Scooter-sharing companies like Bird and Lime have taken over the city, with a scooter on almost every road. This concept is similar to the pre-existing bike-share programs in Charlotte, but these scooters have an electronic motor, capable of hitting 15 miles per hour with no physical labor required to ride them.
Karson Peach, a freshman attending Queens, uses these scooters frequently to help him get around without a car. “Where I’m from in Idaho we don’t have anything like this, it’s awesome because it’s easy to use and helps the environment,” he said. Anyone can find a scooter near their location by downloading the Bird or Lime app from their mobile phone’s respective store and start riding instantly. Because these scooters are dock-less, they can be left on any sidewalk or curb for the next person to pick up and use. “I usually find scooters to ride along Selwyn Avenue, which is awesome because it’s right on campus,” said Peach.
A scooter costs $1 plus 15 cents per minute of riding, but the first ride is free. Peach said the scooters can help save money. “This one time, I needed to go Uptown but an Uber was $12 dollars, I decided to take a Bird because I had a little extra time and it saved me $6!”
Because these scooters are battery powered they do need to be charged often, and anyone can charge them. Students can register online to become a “charger.” Once approved, the company will send a pack of charging cables to be used at home or in a dorm. Simply use the Bird or Lime app to locate a scooter with low battery and load it into the vehicle. Charge it fully and return it to a drop off location provided by the app. Students can make anywhere from $5 to $20 per scooter depending on where it was found. “Bird Hunting,” as it has been called, is a great alternative for students who want a part time job but have tight schedules.
Overall, Scooter-sharing companies have a lot to offer both Queens and Charlotte, and more students are beginning to take advantage of their benefits.“I love riding a Bird because it’s really fun and I feel cool,” said Peach.
Photo above: Queens student Karson Peach says riding a scooter makes him feel cool.