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U. confiscates 80 scooters, five days into PEV ban

In the foreground, a sign shows the restricted area for scooters on campus. In the background, a brick building with construction stands.
Scooter ban signage on Goheen walk.
Vitus Larrieu / The Daily Princetonian

Less than a week since the University’s ban on scooters, e-bikes, and other Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs) went into effect, about 80 vehicles, all of them scooters, have been confiscated. The ban came into effect on Jan. 25, four days before the start of classes this semester.

University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss wrote in a statement to The Daily Princetonian that most of the scooters that have recently been impounded were not registered with Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) and “showed signs of abandonment.”

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In addition to prohibiting the use of PEVs on virtually all of campus, the new policy also bars the storage, parking, or charging of electric vehicles — meaning that any PEV found on campus may be subject to confiscation.

A Dec. 4 email sent to all undergraduates outlined the tightened policy and urged students to remove their PEVs from campus as they departed for winter break. The email cited safety concerns and as lack of compliance as cause for tightened policy.

“PEV users have routinely and increasingly been observed riding during the prohibited time periods, exceeding the 10 mph speed limit, failing to yield to pedestrians, operating with two passengers on a single device, and riding while using headphones or other audio devices,” the University’s email explained.

For students, some believe the restrictions limit accessibility to disabled students. Others are upset that their costly scooters are no longer usable. 

“I had to bring my scooter back home when I left for winter break,” Evan Callas ’27 said. “As somebody who just got a scooter that was brand new, I was definitely upset at first about the fast turnaround with the regulations.”

Since returning to campus, Callas has witnessed scooter confiscations in several locations around campus.

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“I’ve seen scooters being taken outside of Yeh College, right where the entrance to the dining hall is, and also near the SPIA building,” he said. “There were groups of people taking them from the racks and loading them onto trucks.”

Kristen Umbriac ’24 recorded footage of scooter confiscations outside of a window in 1903 Hall.

“They were taking scooters from the bike racks as well as looking into doorways and stairwells, and also loading the confiscated ones onto a truck,” she said.

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Some scooters on campus have been observed with yellow warning tags, used for vehicles that Hotchkiss wrote were “not immediately removable” and may be “locked or immobilized” by TPS until they are collected.

Hotchkiss also estimated that more than 100 students had arranged for University-sponsored shipping of their scooters.

Uma Corniea ’27 used the University shipping service to send home her scooter following the ban.

“They made the process really easy,” she said. “There was a big shipping container and I brought the scooter to them. They zip tied a shipping label on it, and that was the end of my scooter.”

Students who have had a PEV impounded by the University may request its return at the end of semester.

Miriam Waldvogel is an associate News editor for the ‘Prince.’

Ava Fonss is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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