For a long time, scooters have been a staple at UF as an alternative to riding the bus or driving to campus.

However, that trend is in transition, partly because scooters may not be as green as students once believed.

“Over the past three years, we’re selling fewer decals,” said Scott Fox, director of UF’s Transportation and Parking Services.

Fox said the slight decline resulted from deliberate efforts by the office to reduce environmentally harmful emissions.

After conducting surveys to understand scooter riders’ feelings toward the decals, the office identified two major findings that led them to raise prices, Fox said.

The survey found that if decal prices increased, students would ride the bus instead. From 2010 to 2011, the full-year decal price increased from $96 to $144, according to Alligator archives.

This year, the decal costs $150 a year and $75 a semester, which is the same for all other student decals.

The survey also revealed that about 70 percent of students made more than six trips around campus on their scooters daily.

Based on the survey results, the office confirmed that scooters might not substantially aid sustainability efforts.

In the 2009-2010 school year, 2,104 students purchased decals. In 2010-2011, the number fell to 2,038. In 2011-2012, the number dropped slightly to 2,027.

Fox said he believes the numbers will continue to decline slightly.

While students at UF may be riding scooters less, it appears that more Gainesville residents are jumping on the bandwagon.

Collin Austin, owner of New Scooters 4 Less, 118 NW 14th Ave., has seen more nonstudents purchasing scooters to drive around Gainesville.

“In 2011, we expanded our customer demographics to include non-students daily drivers by acquiring the number one scooter brand in the world, Vespa,” Austin wrote in an email.

He said the brand attracts more commuters to purchase scooters.

Fox said one reason more students are declining to ride scooters is due to the increased Gainesville Regional Transit System services.

He said that with more buses and stop locations added during the past few years, students are inclined to use RTS to get around.

However, Samantha Salud had the opposite impression.

“I actually imagined that scooter decal sales would be rising,” said the 19-year-old UF applied physiology and kinesiology sophomore.

Salud said she uses her scooter to get to campus for class and cheerleading practices.

“It’s really convenient, and it’s a lot easier than waiting for the bus or trying to find parking,” she said. “I’m definitely getting a decal for the next few years.”

(1) comment


No Mr. Fox, the reason that students aren't buying decals is because you made them just as expensive as car decals and removed the incentive to bother with the purchase of a scooter.

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