University pilots new partnership for electric scooters on campus


A one-year pilot agreement with Spin, a company owned by Ford Motor Co., has deployed 200 electric scooters throughout campus and surrounding neighborhoods.

The pilot involving the University of Michigan, city of Ann Arbor and Spin, will offer accessible and affordable transportation through a phone app.

The e-scooter-sharing company is looking to improve safety, while offering a sustainable alternative to navigating around campus and the city.

“Our goal is to have a safe and flexible mobility option that could help the campus community reduce parking demand, vehicle emissions and dependency on single-occupancy vehicles,” said Steve Dolen, executive director of Logistics, Transportation and Parking.

While the scooters provide a unique way of exploring campus, additional mobility options such as the Spin scooters should not take away from healthy options of transportation, such as walking or biking, Dolen added.

Photo of Spin scooters
People will be seeing these Spin scooters around campus under a pilot agreement with Ford-owned company. (Photo courtesy of Spin)

Some safety features of the pilot include campus “no-ride” zones established by geo-fencing certain areas, including the Grove, Diag, Law Quad and Palmer Commons/Central Campus Recreation Building bridges.

Scooters will also substantially slow down when approaching certain areas with a high volume of pedestrians. Riding on U-M sidewalks is not permitted.

Scooters will be placed near campus bike rack locations on Ross Athletic, Central, Medical and North campuses. Spin employees will collect, charge and redeploy scooters as needed.

Riders must use the Spin smartphone app to access the service, which costs $1 to unlock a scooter and 15 cents a minute for travel.



  1. Evan Keller
    on May 3, 2019 at 4:38 am

    Its a shame. They are already being left on several sidewalk locations at NCRC. Looks bad and creates obstructions.

  2. Bett Weston
    on May 3, 2019 at 8:41 am

    This is a fine idea and people obviously use them and appreciate them. Please make parking spots for them off the sidewalks. They are left at the bus stops and other places in the way of pedestrians.

  3. Ellie Jones
    on May 3, 2019 at 11:17 am

    The article says “Riding on U-M sidewalks is not permitted.” That leaves city sidewalks. Assuming riders actually can tell the difference between the two,, and would actually comply, seems both unrealistic and unenforceable.

  4. Wendy Rampson-Gage
    on May 3, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I hope the pilot project encourages helmet use, given the recent Austin study that showed almost half of the e-scooter injuries they studied were head injuries, with 15% of those being traumatic brain injuries:

  5. John Woodford
    on May 3, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    If U-M and the city are serious about reducing number of parked cars in town, they’d make it easier for riders of motor scooters and motorcycles to park at campus bike sites and on certain areas of sidewalks, as is common in many European cities. Limiting parking only to mopeds at bicycle-parking locations is silly since larger scooters and many motorcycles are either the same size or not much bigger than 50-cc. mopeds. They all get way more mpg than cars. Is the U-M/city goal to make money from meters and parking tickets rather than to reduce congestion on the streets and fuel consumption? Seems like it.

  6. Barbara Bradley
    on May 3, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve not used one, but I assume payment is via a credit card? Why not just create a fine for users who leave the scooter in an unauthorized place? Charge the fine to their credit card after-the-fact.

  7. George Woods
    on May 3, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Speeds need to be governed to about 1/2 of capable speed.
    As far as not being on Palmer pedestrian bridge , I saw one at a breakneck speed the first day the new company was on campus.

  8. Irene Knokh
    on May 20, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    The scooters are not safe. I’ve seen people hardly hold the balance on them.
    They are dangerous to everyone-including the riders.

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