For weeks, Carbondale has been buzzing about the emergence of the electric-powered scooters manufactured by the company, Veo. While safety concerns have been raised by local officials, the scooters seem to be here to stay.
We decided to look into whether it makes more sense to drive your car or ride a scooter. The answer is, it depends.
First year student Tori Timmons said, “I’m from Chicago. Gas is almost $5.00 per gallon out there, so I would rather ride a scooter.”
This week, the regular cost of gas averaged around $3.786 in Carbondale, according to AAA insurance. On the other hand, Veo charges its riders a flat fee per minute and doesn’t require users to pay for its charging.
Conyers Lamb, operations manager for Veo, said, “The rate calculation is $1 for unlock and 31 cents per minute for each additional minute that you’re going to continue on your ride once you’ve unlocked it.”
Deciding whether to drive your car or ride a scooter seems situational, but the advantages and disadvantages must be examined when considering how close the two prices could be.
Former Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and professor of Law Sheila Simon is a known biking enthusiast. When asked about the advantages and disadvantages of both car and scooter options, she added the increased use of bikes on campus can be a gauge of increased gas prices.
“Fossil fuels, and particularly gas prices, have been high. It’s interesting,” Simon said. “When the price of gas goes up, I see more people biking. There’s a little bit more risk involved in biking than in a car, but the risk is outweighed by the benefit of getting myself to work on the cheap side.”
With Carbondale being a college town, price plays a factor for many students when deciding their mode of transportation.
Driving a car requires people to keep fuel, hold car insurance and money for maintenance. On the other hand, riding a Veo scooter requires you to download their app, pay for the ride and adhere to the safety guidelines.
Ben Thomas, regional manager of Veo, said, “Everyone in Carbondale” is a member of Veo’s targeted audience.
“Through the first week of Aug., we did over 16,000 rides on about 300 scooters. So this showed us that many people in the city of Carbondale want to use the scooters, whether for the community, just for fun or for recreational purposes,” he said.
When asked about Veo’s fears that people will prefer to drive rather than use scooters, Thomas said the company is not looking to compete with cars but is trying to offer another form of transportation.
“Suppose you want to ride a Veo instead of taking the car out of the parking lot and trying to find parking downtown or at the hospital,” Thomas said. “There are many scenarios where people could use scooters and drive their cars.”
Thomas notes a lot of people don’t bring cars to campus.
“For the students’ portion of it, as well as people that live in the city, they don’t use cars as their main means of transportation; they might use buses or bikes,” Thomas said.
The verdict is still out on which method of transportation reigns supreme among town locals. However, several students who have ridden the Veo scooter weighed in with their thoughts.
Timmons said, “I would ride the seated scooter because gas prices are too high, and I will be able to get to class quickly.”
“I think anything over five minutes I’m taking my car. But if I’m just hopping around town, I might go Veo every once in a while,” Law student Ethan Konicek said.
Law student Tom Beley said, “I prefer driving my car because I have the money and prefer to be in my car. It’s easy and it’s my property. Parking isn’t hard to find in Carbondale.”
Cars and scooters seem to be the primary modes of transportation in the city of Carbondale, but the decision for either seems to depend on your specific need and lifestyle.
Staff reporter Mannie Henderson can be reached at [email protected]