TCU Police will be turning heads on its patrols around campus with a new set of wheels.
The police department has purchased two T3 Motion transporters to adapt to a more pedestrian-friendly campus, Lt. Ramiro Abad said. The new vehicles have three wheels and are powered by a rechargeable battery, cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. The vehicle comes with two removable batteries. According to the T3 Motion Inc. Web site, the vehicles have user-selected settings for speeds up to a maximum of 25 mph.
Abad said the police department began researching alternative forms of transportation several years ago when the campus started becoming more pedestrian friendly. The department looked into two-wheeled Segways before settling on the T3 Motion vehicles, Abad said. The standard police package costs just under $9,000 per vehicle, said Brian Buccella, vice president of sales and marketing for T3 Motion Inc.
The department isn’t going to get rid of its golf carts and bicycles, but the T3 presents some advantages those vehicles don’t have, Abad said. The vehicles will be useful for parking lots because the raised platform the officers stand on will give them a better view and serve as a deterrent, Abad said.
Sgt. Alvin Allcon, one of the officers who will be using them, said he doesn’t know what to think of the new vehicles. Allcon said the T3’s edge out bicycles in terms of visibility. Not only will the scooter draw more attention from students, the driver of the T3 stands on the scooter to drive, giving the officer a better view of a parking lot, Allcon said.
But Allcon also said there maybe some disadvantages with the new vehicles. In terms of having to stand up on the T3 to drive, Allcon said there might be some discomfort after riding on it after a while.
“Some of us here are a little bit older, and you know, the bottoms of my feet are already aching a bit so after an hour and a half, I don’t know how that’s going to work out,” Allcon said.
In terms of the new vehicles’ impact on reducing emissions, Michael Slattery, director of the Institute for Environmental Studies, said that the amount saved will be small considering all the other vehicles on campus, but the most important part of these improvements is they are visible to students.
Slattery said more changes will have to come since Chancellor Victor J. Boschini signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. According to the official Web site of the commitment, the commitment is a pledge to take part in a series of goals, such as setting a target date for achieving climate neutrality.
Abad said when he drove the T3 for the first time around campus Friday, the response from students was positive. Students will be seeing a lot more of them when officers start patrols with the new vehicles this week, Abad said.