GROVE CITY – A Grove City College student is interested in bringing electric scooters to campus and into town.
“The sidewalks are pretty wide enough, I think,” said Jonathan French during the local council meeting on Monday evening.
The newcomer is studying computer science and got the idea when he saw some other students with scooters. He wants to gain experience starting a business that helps the community.
He could develop a mobile app that people would use to rent the scooters for a small fee, similar to the scooter program recently launched in Pittsburgh.
Charging stations would have to be installed in the city center and on the university campus.
The scooters would have GPS tracking and a connection to a server so French could monitor where they are.
He could also set limits so that the scooters are not taken too far away.
When the users are done with the scooters, they take them back to the nearest charging station, where they scan a type of barcode with the app on their mobile phone.
In Pittsburgh, scooter rentals are $ 1 upfront, then users are billed based on the length of the trip, he said.
The scooters would not be driven by cars, but would have the same rights as pedestrians.
The scooters themselves would have lights and possibly other functions such as turn signals.
French is still trying to work out a plan to install the charging stations in the city center. He asked about electrical outlets downtown next to trees on the sidewalk.
These are for the Christmas lights and run from dusk until dawn, said Borough Manager Vance Oakes.
There are electric safes on the sidewalk that could be used, he added.
This would come with a service charge for using electricity, councilor Scott Jaillet said, asking if there was a community ordinance addressing electric scooters on the sidewalks.
Scooters aren’t “explicitly detailed” in an existing regulation, but the council could develop more specific rules and regulations, said Taylor Pokrant, Grove City Code and Zoning Officer.
“We need to do a little research,” said Mary Kay Mattocks, Council President.
She said she welcomed his entrepreneurship.
French said he wanted it to be safe for the drivers. He has a classmate who helps him equip the scooters and one of his professors helps him program the app.
Jaillet asked what would happen if the scooter’s battery ran out before the driver could bring it back to the charging station.
It can still be used as a regular scooter, and French said he could make sure he or a helper is available to pick up scooters that might not bring it back to a charging station.
The proposal was referred to the district’s park and recreation committee for further discussion.