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Maker’s Club Devises a Plan for a Campus-Wide Scooter Rental System

Noticing the issues of transportation and scooter theft, the Makers’ Club decided to devise a plan for a campus-wide scooter rental initiative, said John Koobatian ’17, Co-President of the Makers’ Club.

“We went through an ideation process asking ourselves what we saw as an issue on campus. Transportation came up again and again. Scooter theft was also a recurring problem,” said Koobatian.

The goal of the scooter initiative is to establish a system of Andover-specific scooters all over campus and allow students to rent them out at any time. The Makers’ Club is looking at previous systems such as Bluebike, which rented out bicycles to Andover students, and the Hubway system, which provides bicycles to its members through Hubway stations situated all over Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville.

“People will be able to check out scooters as they check out library books,” said Koobatian. “There will be stations throughout campus where people can use their Blue Cards to grab scooters, and then they can return them to any other station within a set amount of time.”

Once implemented, this initiative will provide a faster and easier mode of transportation for students and reduce the risk of scooter theft. There has also been discussion regarding assigning a specific scooter to each student and offering either short-term or long-term rentals to students.

“We hope that this new system will disincentivize scooter theft, for it will be just as easy to take a scooter for free than it would be to steal one,” said Koobatian.

Jared Zuker ’18 first proposed the idea for a scooter rental program. Eight students met in the Makerspace last Friday night to spend a few hours walking through the scooter initiative and all that it might entail, Koobation said.

Some of the topics brought up during the meeting included possible locations to set up the stations, including Graves, Pine Knoll, the Andover Inn, Borden Memorial Gym Gym and the Quads, a locking mechanism at stations to further improve scooter security and a possible navigation system to track the positions of users.

While scooter safety has been a part of the conversations regarding the new initiative, the Makers’ Club is optimistic that the new system will provide a safe, effective approach to dealing with scooter safety.

“Safety is certainly something we took into account, and we do not foresee safety issues being a hindrance in the process,” said Koobatian. “Knowing systems like Bluebike are already in place on campus shows that this can be done safely.”

The scooter rental initiative is still in its prototyping stages and will be worked on extensively during Winter Term. The Makers’ Club hopes to solidify the ideas proposed during Friday’s meeting and further expand upon ways to improve the initiative by the end of winter term.

“The planning is certainly not done yet. We are just entering the phase where we begin prototyping,” said Koobatian. “We intend to have a minimum viable product up and running by Spring Term of this year. The system should be opened to students soon after that.”

Oct 30, 2015