Scooters on Campus: FAQs

E-Scooter

Why are there now scooters on the Virginia Tech campus?
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is partnering with scooter company Spin to conduct one of the first naturalistic driving studies of scooter riders on a university campus. Click here to learn more.

Who may use the scooters?
All members of the campus community may use the scooters. When users first register on the Spin app, they will need to provide valid driver’s license and payment information. Riders must be 18 years old or older.

Where can I ride?
Scooters will be restricted to Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus limits which will be enforced through geofencing (if you ride outside of the approved areas, the scooter’s throttle will turn off and provide audible commands to redirect you back to an approved riding area to continue or end your ride); scooters cannot be ridden in the Town of Blacksburg; Scooters cannot be brought inside campus buildings or parking garages. 

Per Policy 5005, scooters are permitted on all roadways, as well as concrete and asphalt pathways, grass, and sidewalks, with the exception of times when there is heavy pedestrian traffic on sidewalks and pathways. At this time, riders should ride around the grassy Drillfield area and travel on Drillfield Drive with the flow of traffic (a red geofence will appear on the app).

When are scooters available for use?
Scooters can be used during daylight hours, from 7 a.m. to a half hour after dusk.

Scooters will be removed from campus in the evenings and in advance of high-traffic events, including move-in weekend, home football games, commencement, and during times of inclement weather. Scooter access will be determined by the Virginia Tech Police Department chief, assistant vice president for Emergency Management, and the vice president for Operations and is subject to change.

How do I use the scooter?
Each time you use a scooter you will need to access the free Spin app and provide information such as your driver's license and payment information. When you are finished, you should park it within 5 feet of an approved on-campus bike rack and be sure to lock it using the Spin app.

Where do I park the scooter?
Scooters must be parked within 5 feet of an on-campus bike rack or in a designated scooter parking area . Scooters cannot block sidewalks, ADA pathways, ADA access ramps, or building entrances or exits. Click here for a map of pick-up and drop-off locations.

Where do I pick up a scooter?
Each morning, Spin will drop off scooters in a series of approved scooter hubs, in most instances, the hubs will be at an existing bike rack. Click here for the latest scooter pick-up area locations. Please note, these locations are subject to change.

If i see a scooter parked not in use can I start riding it?
Yes, as long as you can unlock it with the Spin app you can ride it.

I tried to unlock a scooter that has no charge or is damaged. What do I do next?
Within the Spin app, click the exclamation point icon at the bottom left side of the screen and select "Damaged vehicle" to report, or you can contact Spin at 888-249-9698 or support@spin.pm.

Why hasn't my driver's license been verified yet?
If it is taking a long time to verify your license, contact the Spin support team at support@spin.pm for assistance.

Can I store the scooter somewhere if I am in class or in my residence hall?
Scooters cannot be stored inside campus buildings, garages, nor left unattended while the Spin account is in use.

Where do I report scooters parked illegally?
Within the Spin app, click the exclamation point icon at the bottom left side of the screen and select "Improper parking." Alternatively, you can contact Spin at 888-249-9698, support@spin.pm, or Virginia Tech Parking and Transportation at 540–231–3200.

Who is responsible for charging the scooters?
Spin will collect the scooters each evening and charge.

Does it cost money to ride the scooters?
The scooters will cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute while in use. The latest pricing can be found in the Spin app

Where can I get promo codes?
Spin will be on campus throughout the year at Alternative Transportation events. Keep an eye out for the next event on the Alternative Transportation Department's website

What safety tips will be provided to users prior to using the scooters?
Please visit the Alternative Transportation Department’s website for safety tips along with the Spin website and app.

Do you have helmets we can use while riding?
Helmet usage is strongly encouraged on scooters. Beginning approximately the second week of September, the Alternative Transportation Department will be giving out free helmets (while supplies last) at the Hokie Bike Hub located at 1330 Perry Street (first floor of the garage).

Is there a survey I can complete to share my feedback around scooters?
The VTTI research team is interested in gaining feedback from the campus community on a regular basis as the study progresses. Please stay tuned for future surveys that will be shared on this website and in VT News Campus Notices.

How will VTTI be collecting data for the initiative?
VTTI will be developing a fixed observation video system to collect aggregate data on rider/pedestrian interactions and rider behavior in general. Stationary video cameras will be installed at up to 21 different strategic locations on the Virginia Tech campus. The Virginia Tech Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) have reviewed the research protocol and determined that it meets the criteria for exemption from IRB review under 45 CFR 46.104(d) category(ies) 2(i),2(ii).

An in-app survey consisting of three questions will be presented at the end of each trip to the rider. This will be part of the Spin application that users must utilize in order to use a Spin scooter. At the end of each scooter trip (for instrumented and non-instrumented scooters), riders will be presented with the option to complete a brief survey. If the riders choose to complete the survey, their consent will be provided by clicking a button within the app to proceed to the survey questions. The completion of this survey is anticipated to take less than one minute. Spin will de-identify the responses to these surveys and provide the anonymous data to VTTI researchers. 

To read the abstract and other project details, please visit the Safety Through Disruption University Transportation Center website.

Who can I contact for more information on the research initiative?

  • General research inquiries: VTTI, 540-231-1500
  • Media inquiries involving research: Anne Deekens, VTTI
  • Media inquiries - Virginia Tech Operations: Alexa Briehl, Division of Operations
  • Spin media inquiries: Ariella Steinhorn, Spin
  • Operational and safety inquiries: Virginia Tech Alternative Transportation Department, gettingaround@vt.edu, 540–231–2116.