On Wednesday morning, about 15 people attended a ribbon-cutting event for Spin scooters in Liberty Plaza. The event aimed to promote the arrival of Spin electric scooters in Ann Arbor in partnership with the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan.
The event was led by Jeff Jones, vice president of American City Solutions at Ford Motor Company; Lisa Solomon, senior business analyst for Parking and Transportation Services; Christopher King, director of campus partnerships at Spin and John Fournier, assistant city administrator of Ann Arbor.
The event started with Fournier introducing the new scooters. He said Spin has been actively working with both the city of Ann Arbor and the University, and he expressed excitement about officially introducing Spin scooters into the city.
“(The scooters) will be a great addition to the community,” Fournier said. “They will be used safely, actively. I hope this will be a great success. I am really excited about it, and I’m looking forward to our future with Spin.”
Fournier was then followed by Solomon, who discussed the University’s long-standing partnership with Ford Motor Company, and what that means for introducing Spin onto campus.
“The University and Ford — Spin’s parent company — has had a really long-standing and strong relationship, and we are now collaborating on building an autonomous vehicle on the University’s North Campus,” Solomon said. “Because of the relationship we are able to work with Spin very closely and easily.”
Solomon also mentioned the University’s goals in achieving carbon neutrality. She expressed her belief that Spin scooters can help achieve that goal.
“We hope that by piloting them, they offer the opportunity of reducing carbon congestion,” Solomon said. “Another thing is that it provides a great option to connect our campus and cover the last mile to classes. We are also excited about its data potential, which can help improve our transportation decisions.”
Jones followed Solomon and talked about Ford’s support of Spin due to their common values. Jones also expressed his excitement about continuing to deploy Spin Scooters in the future.
When asked about Ford’s goals regarding Spin Scooters in an interview with The Daily, Jones talked about how Spin scooters can be a flexible and fun option for traveling around.
“At Ford, we believe freedom in movement drives human progress,” Jones said. “So, we want people to be able to move freely all over the world — especially in urban areas like the city of Ann Arbor. What we are hoping to accomplish is to provide more flexible options to individuals, so that they can move throughout the City. We have a lot of options in this city today in terms of shared mobility, ride-hailing, our privatized vehicles, bikes, etc. But sometimes you need that flexibility, and time is a factor, and you want to have fun. So, these scooters provide a great way to do that.”
King talked about the unique advantages of Spin as compared to other scooter programs and emphasized Spin’s effort to ensure pedestrian safety and long-term sustainability.
“We are excited for 200 scooters being launched into the city and in the University of Michigan,” King said. “We know that there have been scooter programs launched here unannounced without permission, and that allows their scooters to impede pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic. We are excited to serve as a trusted partner and work closely with the city-operated scooter sharing program to integrate into existing transit.”
King then talked about the safety measures Spin implemented to ensure pedestrian safety, which include creating low-speed and no-ride zones on campus and in the city based on recommendations of the city of Ann Arbor and the University.
“We worked with the University to identify areas on-campus where they think will have high pedestrian-walking traffic specifically to times in the day, like lunchtimes,” King said. “The University thought the Diag area should be a no-ride zone. So, when you have a scooter and you go into the Diag, your scooter is going to beep, and it will then eventually slow down to, basically, the scooter you may have grown up with — the one which you have to pedal through.”
LSA sophomore Adam Cohn has been actively working with Spin to introduce the scooters to the University. He said Spin is different from other scooter programs before it.
“Spin has been actively interacting with municipality and campus administration to deploy scooters; they are not coming here unannounced,” Cohn said. “When you talk about mobility in the modern-era, it's about creating partnerships so that you are not damaging the already-built environment.”
The event ended with all four speakers of the event riding new Spin electric scooters through a ribbon.