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Campus & Community

Wheel Appeal

New Rideshare Hits the Road With Bikes, eBikes and eScooters

By Maya Pottiger ’17, M.Jour. ’20

VeoRide bikes on UMD campus

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

University of Maryland junior Ahmed Mohamed of Baltimore tries a VeoRide scooter for the first time yesterday. He has used other motorized scooters before and was excited to see the new ones on campus.

A new initiative that rolled onto campus yesterday won’t just put a pep in your steps. It will put an electric motor on them.

Through a partnership with the University of Maryland and cities of College Park and University Park, the mobility-share company VeoRide is installing 24 stations throughout the community offering 150 e-bikes, 70 pedal bikes and 70 e-scooters.

“A lot has changed in the last three years in bike share and micro-mobility,” said Anna McLaughlin, assistant director of sustainability with the Department of Transportation Services. “We were looking for a provider that could bring both the pedal bikes, which have been super popular and very successful, but also increase the options, bringing electric bikes and scooters.”

Chicago-based VeoRide, which replaces mBike, touts its two-wheeled vehicles as eco-friendly, durable and rider-safe. It operates like other bike-sharing programs: Download the free app, locate a vehicle and use Bluetooth to pair with it. Scan the vehicle’s QR code on or enter the vehicle’s ID number, and then you’re (literally) ready to roll. When you’re done, push the button on the lock to end your trip.

Don’t worry: The sidewalks and streets won’t be littered with abandoned vehicles. VeoRide requires users to end bike trips at any bike rack, and e-scooters must be parked in areas designated in the app.

E-bikes and e-scooters cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute of use. Pedal bikes cost $1 to unlock and 5 cents per minute of use. No membership or subscription services are currently available.

Users who launch the VeoRide app will see clear indicators of the geofencing boundaries for locking the vehicle and ending the ride, but the vehicles  can go anywhere. For example, users can ride e-scooters to Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville for brunch, but should calculate the dining and extra travel time away from the nearest racks into the brunch budget.

Once fully deployed, the vehicles will be available from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Part of our pilot parameters is we want to ease into the nighttime hours,” McLaughlin said. “Visibility is low. We want to make sure they’re being used safely.”

VeoRide will have a team on campus the first few weeks of the semester, hosting testing drives and safety classes, attendees can score free rider credits and claim a VeoRide helmet by stopping by.

“Programs like these allow people to get around without their car,” McLaughlin said. “We’re really trying to create a campus that thinks about sustainable transportation as we’re thinking about sustainability as a bigger picture campuswide.”

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.