UC San Diego announced a new agreement on Oct. 26 with Ford Mobility’s companies, Spin and TransLoc, to steadily enhance transportation methods for the 35,000 students on campus. The new agreement will bring 600 new Spin electric scooters and bikes to campus. TransLoc’s software will provide riders with designated Spin charging hubs with digital screens that show real-time data on-campus transit such as bus routes and charging stations.
“The agreement with Ford Mobility, Spin and TransLoc … brings bike and scooter charging hubs with real-time transit information, new technology for busses, bicycle and pedestrian counters,” UCSD Associate Communications Director Leslie Sepuka said.
This new agreement comes at a time when UCSD has seen its largest freshman class of 40,616 students for the 2021-2022 school year, with many students opting to use Spin vehicles to travel around campus. During October 2021, UCSD reported that students and faculty took 63,000 trips using Spin-owned vehicles.
In addition to the probable benefits that will be brought about by the agreement, Gary Matthews, UCSD Vice Chancellor of Resource Management & Planning, told The Times of San Diego that the initiative would improve sustainability.
“The university has a long-standing commitment to reduce our carbon footprint,” Matthews said. “With the combined services of Spin and TransLoc, the university reduces its carbon emissions.”
In December 2017, 50 Spin bikes and scooters were brought to campus as part of a pilot program and 300 more were added weeks later as ridership heavily increased. In previous years, Spin competed with Bird, another electric scooter company, for usage on campus. However, as of Summer 2021, Bird is no longer on campus in an effort by the university to resolve scooter clutter and have designated required parking stations.
“[We are] currently working with SPIN as an exclusive partner on the campus,” added Sepuka.
For students who are required to travel daily for work or internships, the Spin scooters have been especially beneficial, as stated by Sixth College sophomore Breanna Tan, who works at a lab far from campus.
“I’m glad to know that UCSD is adding more Spins,” Tan said. “I work at a lab almost a mile away and a lot of the time it’s just easier to take a Spin than spend 20 minutes walking there and back.”
The added charging hubs around campus could also prove beneficial as Spin vehicles are powered by a battery that requires frequent charging.
“One time, my Spin almost ran out of battery before I could make it home so it is nice to know that there will be more charging hubs on campus,” Tan added.
Some students have expressed that there are a lack of parking options around campus and many parking areas are not catered to the type of parking permit they may have. Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore Tyler Peterson said that this new agreement could alleviate the parking dilemma.
“I drive to campus but there are very limited areas I’m allowed to park in and it can be difficult to drive here in general with all the students walking around, so I use Spin a lot,” Peterson said. “A lot of the time, on my drive to school, I’ll see people park off-campus and then take a Spin to campus and use it for the day,” he added.
The added Spin vehicles are set to roll out soon. The UCSD Guardian will provide further updates on this initiative as information is available.
Picture by Erik Jepsen for UC San Diego