CHAPEL HILL — Scooter riders at UNC-Chapel Hill will likely get a break this week.
Campus trustees appear ready to significantly lower a new fee charged to folks who park scooters on campus.
The change, which comes after months of outcry from the scooter community, would drop the price of a scooter permit to $24. The previous policy, approved earlier this year but not slated to take effect until mid-August, would have charged employees anywhere from $174 to $371 annually, depending on their salary level. Students would have been charged $175, or $44 if they also had a permit to park a car on campus.
According to a UNC-CH memo, the price cut came after campus officials realized many other campuses charged far less for scooter permits.
That's true. One example: At Duke University, scooter permits are $25, or free if you have a car permit.
The audit and finance committee of UNC-CH's Board of Trustees signed off on the change Wednesday. The full board will likely approve it today.
The university says scooter riders, who until now have parked near their buildings and used bike racks or other structures to secure their scooters, will now have to park in lots currently designated for motorcycles.
And officials say they plan to install new metal "U-Racks" that can be used to secure the scooters.
Under the revised policy, the university would institute a warning period through Nov. 1. After that, violators would face a $30 fine.
Repeat violations would net additional $55 fines.
The scooter policy marks the first time UNC-CH has regulated scooters, the small motorized bikes with engines of 50 cubic centimeters or less. University officials say scooters have long been overlooked in parking regulations, but their use has increased in recent years, posing a hazard to pedestrians.
Brian Moynihan, a UNC-CH graduate student who rides a scooter to campus each day, said he has concerns about the logistics of the new regulation, but the price reduction is a "step in the right direction."
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