Weeks after the coronavirus shut down Bloomington and the IU campus, a new scooter company is in town.
Veoride scooter company had a soft launch of a small number of their new scooters April 20 in Bloomington.
“They reached out and they said, ‘we're going to do a very small deployment so we can kind of get things going,’” said Alex Crowley, City of Bloomington director of economic and sustainable development.
Crowley said the Chicago-based company originally meant to launch immediately after spring break. He said Veoride told the city they decided to delay their launching plans since students were gone.
“They fully understand and recognize that students aren't around,” Crowley said. “It's unlikely that there's going to be a huge amount of ridership.”
Crowley said Veoride has a different charging system than Bird and Lime scooters. Instead of having to take the scooter to charge it, Veoride has replaceable batteries.
Veoride CEO Candice Xie said Veoride is one of the first companies to use this charging technology. She said Bloomington is a perfect city to have their scooters in because of the city structure. She said the company doesn’t know when they will drop off more scooters.
“It depends on how everything turns out after the virus,” Xie said.
Xie said the scooters could be an essential service for the city for people who are not comfortable riding public transportation during a pandemic. She said the scooters could potentially be a safer option.
“We deployed a few to support transportation,” Xie said.
Regarding COVID-19, Xie said Veoride is alerting users of security and safety precautions. She also said employees wear gloves and masks to sanitize the scooters when they go to replace the battery every one or two days.
Crowley said Byrd and Lime scooters dropped off scooters unannounced and caused a disruption in the city’s transportation. Bloomington City Council decided to create an ordinance so new companies would apply for a scooter license.
“There was a little bit of craziness when the two had launched in Bloomington,” Crowley said.
Veoride applied and was approved Nov. 26, 2019 by the City of Bloomington Board of Public Works.
Freshman Megan Coddington said she thinks having another scooter company in Bloomington seems unnecessary.
She said she doesn’t use them routinely but knows other people use them to travel between classes. She said she thinks some people may like that Veoride is more environmentally friendly with the battery changes but it makes little difference to her.
“Unless their scooters are completely different where it goes a lot quicker than the other ones or has anything special about it,” Coddington said. “It's the exact same thing.”
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