After a brief stay from Bird and Lime last year, dockless electric scooters will once again be available to Michigan State students as soon as next week from Gotcha after they hosted a demonstration tent on campus.
Beyond an exclusive mobility contract with MSU, Gotcha is licensed to operate in the city of Lansing and soon the city of East Lansing.
The company has a conditional license in East Lansing, but should receive their full license and start deploying scooters in the city within the next week or two.
“We’re just waiting to work out some site planning with them,” Assistant to the City Manager Nicole Bartell said. “So basically, deciding where they are going to have their launch and parking locations.”
She said that once planning is finalized, the city will grant Gotcha their full license.
Some students grew reliant on the scooters planted by Bird and Lime last year. Those students are looking forward to Gotcha’s arrival.
“When the first ones went away, I was really disappointed,” Psychology senior Grace Lemley said. “I lived here over the summer, and I found myself really in need of them. I’m actually really excited to hear about it coming back.”
While there are some similarities between the companies that left scooters on campus last year, Gotcha founder and CEO Sean Flood said that he believes his product is better.
Flood mentioned bigger wheels and a bigger baseboard as some of the noticeable differences between Gotcha and other electric scooters.
Spin sent in an application to East Lansing but has not completed the agreement process, and Lime met with the city to discuss a renewal application, but they have not yet submitted one.
Flood said that even with added safety features, students staying safe on the scooters remains an area of emphasis. He said the Gotcha will monitor user safety and make changes if needed.
“We encourage people to not drink and scoot,” Flood said. “Similar to riding in a vehicle, there has to kind of be rules that you obey. So, we are looking at the hours of operation, and we’ll adjust that accordingly.”
Students can expect to see around 300 scooters arriving to campus, though Gotcha offers other rides that might soon follow.
“We partner with universities and cities and deploy all electric products,” Flood said. “So, e-bikes, e-scooters, trikes, products like that - all through one app.”
He said that his goal is to run through the next two months with scooters and by the end of the year, or early next year, start bringing in additional products.
One of Gotcha’s selling points is that their products are more environmentally friendly than most gas-powered transportation.
“Gotcha actually stands for Green Operated Transit Carrying Humanity Around,” Flood said. “So, sustainability has been at the core of our business for the past 10 years.”
Flood said that he thinks the ethical manner in which his company conducts business helped land Gotcha the MSU contract.
“Gotcha has a very different business model,” Flood said. “We’re 10 years old this month. All of our relationships since day one, 10 years ago, have been based on those partnerships. So, we’ve never just deployed product and asked for forgiveness after the fact. I think that approach resonated with the university.”
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