Students opt for electric scooters to save money, avoid parking woes

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    With gas prices at more than $3 per gallon and limited parking spots on campus, some students are opting for electric scooters. 

    The university provided designated parking spaces for manual scooters and bicycles at the bike racks, or in special motorcycle parking spots.

    However, all street-legal electric scooters, mopeds or motorcycles cannot park at the bike racks and must park in the designated motorcycle parking spots or regular vehicle parking spaces. 

    Students are free to use these various forms of transportation but there are still rules and regulations that must be followed on campus and legally, said DeAnn Jones, coordinator of parking and transportation.

    Your scooter must be registered with a parking pass to park on campus,” Jones said.

    The same regulations apply to electric scooters as to other vehicles. They must park in legally-marked places with the correct parking permit.

    According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, all scooters driven on the street must have a Texas license plate with valid registration tags, which can be attained at the county tax office.

    The size of the scooter's engine affects licensing. Scooters that are 49cc or below do not require a motorcycle license, but a 50cc scooter does.

    The engine size plays a part in how fast the scooter goes, as well as how many miles to the gallon the scooter will get. The lower the cc’s, the more mileage per gallon the vehicle will get.

    If a scooter is 50cc or above, riders must take a motorcycle safety course and a state written test for a license, Kenny Knight, salesman at Honda Kawasaki West not far from the TCU campus. 

    Insurance is also required for a scooter, just like it is for a motor vehicle. The cost for insurance depends on the carrier, but there is a one-time fee every year.

    "My scooter cost $3 for gas and gets 95 miles to the gallon," said Lydia McGarva, a sophomore writing and anthropology major. "It has really saved me money; I spent about $6 in gas since school started."

    On average, a 49cc scooter can get 100 miles per gallon, costs about $3 to $5 to fill up and tops out at about 40 miles per hour.

     “I believe a 49cc scooter is an excellent choice for student or someone on a tight budget that does a lot of in-town commuting,” Knight said.

    "I feel like the $300 I spent on my scooter will definitely be worth it the next few years I am at TCU,” said McGarva, who bought her scooter used from a friend.

    "Parking at the bike racks are just so convenient and I do not like driving my car every day," said McGarva. 

    New electric scooters can range from $700 to $2,000.