Scooter and bike company comes to Provo, but not BYU campus

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A student rides a bike on campus. BYU has 4,000 bike parking stalls and provides bike rentals to students for $45. (Chris Bunker)

Provo selected Zagster to introduce bikes and scooters into the city, according to parking and sustainability coordinator Austin Taylor.

“We were most impressed with Zagster because they seem to be the most organized out of all the companies,” Taylor said.

Zagster offers both bikes and scooters, unlike many other companies, and uses its own employees to retrieve scooters instead of relying on volunteer community members as Bird and Lime do, Taylor said.

Zagster and Provo City are currently working on a contract. Taylor said Zagster plans on releasing 200 scooters and 100 bikes into the city. The number of bikes depends on sponsorships and bike usage.

Taylor said he can see the bikes and scooters being used mostly by people who are in Provo for a short amount of time, which includes college students. Mostly people who don’t have a car or want to rent a car, he said, but still want to get to places that might be out of walking distance.

Dani Jardine
Austin Taylor is the parking and sustainability coordinator for Provo City and is in charge of the project to bring scooters and a bike sharing program to Provo. (Dani Jardine)

“I think it really makes sense for people who aren’t here long term. It’s so inexpensive. If you owned your own bike, it would be more expensive than being in the bike share program,” Taylor said.

Community members will have the option to pay around $60 for a year membership that would allow them to access the bike share program. Taylor said this is typically the cost of one bike tune-up.

Taylor is focused more on the bike share program, though electric scooters have been popular in many other cities. With bike sharing programs, a person can rent a bike for 30-60 minutes and ride it to another docking station.

“We’ll probably have the bike stations placed in dense residential areas like south of BYU campus, downtown neighborhoods and then downtown itself,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he thinks the bike share program will be a “huge hit.” The program would also offer the community the chance to try out using a bike before committing to purchasing one.

“If someone who just wants to try it out and doesn’t want to make the full investment of buying a bike, they can try it for a month or two and then they say, ‘OK, I really like doing this. I’m going to go buy a bike for myself so I don’t have to keep borrowing these ones,’” Taylor said.

This is why Taylor said he doesn’t think the bike sharing programs would hurt local bike companies like the Provo Bike Collective.

Taylor said he thinks a bike share program would do well on BYU’s campus and in the city. It would offer a way for students to get from their apartments to campus quickly and in an inexpensive way, he said.

This system would also make it impossible for people to leave the bikes strewn around the city and campus as is sometimes the case with scooters, which has previously raised concerns, Taylor said.

“It would make a ton of sense if you can check out a bike just for 30 minutes or one hour and you have to return it back to that station within that time limit,” he said.

Though BYU police have a strict no-scooter policy on campus, Taylor pointed out they already have multiple bike racks around campus.

The hurdle, Taylor said, is BYU allowing an outside business to operate on campus. He said he has been in contact with members of BYU’s community relations council.

Bob Ross, the chairman of BYU’s traffic and parking committee, said BYU has its own bike sharing program that allows students to rent a bike for $45.

We have reviewed a bike sharing program (like Zagster),” he said. “Right now, we have decided not to participate.”

Ross said BYU supports biking and has about 4,000 bike parking stalls though they are never completely full.

“The university is working to accommodate many forms of transportation to provide a safe environment for our students and employees,” Ross said.

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