Oklahoma Christian University students are having mixed reactions to the new Bird scooters, which arrived on campus last week.
The scooters, which cost one dollar to start and an additional 15 cents per riding minute, have gained popularity in Oklahoma City and other major cities across the country. Although the scooters pose challenges, some students believe they significantly improve campus life.
“The scooters are fun,” freshman Bethany Paris said. “They are a fun way to get around campus. It’s nice for those of us with short legs so that we don’t have to walk. It’s just a way to have fun.”
Other students, however, are concerned about the cost and safety of the scooters. According to freshman Raul Saenz, the price adds up for repeated use, and it is not uncommon to come across scooters that have difficulty running correctly.
“I have mixed opinions about the scooters,” Saenz said. “I’ve had different experiences ranging from scooters that work relatively well and work as planned, but I have also come across others that are not maintained and seem broken. It will take more time to figure out if it is a good or a bad thing since it is only their second week on campus. They are fun, but they add up very quick for cost.”
Other students are concerned about the Bird payment system in general. The app requires the customer to upload a minimum balance to an account to use the scooters and automatically puts the settings to auto-withdrawal from a debit card.
“I think it is a cool idea, I just wish that you didn’t have to load a minimum cost onto your account,” junior Loren Pendergrass said. “You can’t pay anything less than ten dollars to register. If there wasn’t a minimum cost, they would be more enjoyable and accessible.”
The scooters were brought onto campus by the campus improvement committee, headed by sophomore Nash Scott. Although he has received critical comments about the scooters, Scott said he is confident in the program and the work he did to select Bird out of the potential companies evaluated by Oklahoma Christian.
“What caused us to look into Bird was the issue of the bikes in front of the library,” Scott said. “We looked into fixing the broken down bikes, but it [was going to] cost thousands of dollars. We wanted to have that system but cheaper. I looked into three different companies providing on-campus transportation.”
According to Scott, both Bird and Lime were viable options and would freely partner with Oklahoma Christian.
“Bird came on top by being more advanced in technology, having more benefits to us and looking better,” Scott said. “I want people to have another way to get across campus. It is a greener substitute than driving and gives you a different option than barely moving your car. It makes campus more fun. They shouldn’t affect anyone’s day to day unless they improve it, and studies show they are safer than bikes.”