WEST LAFAYETTE – An infernal race to confiscate Bird electric scooters from Purdue University sidewalks in weeks after the Santa Monica, Calif., company dropped hundreds of the polarizing ride-share vehicles on the edge of campus has turned into a bit of a truce in recent days, to hear Aaron Madrid tell it.
“They’re still such a pain,” said Madrid, Purdue’s alternative transportation coordinator, said about a “last-mile” transportation phenomenon that has stirred the same sort of love-them-or-hate-them reputation in Greater Lafayette that they’ve earned in dozens of other communities.
“We’re just at the point of trying to deal with it, unless they’re blocking a sidewalk or something,” he said.
So, what’s another 40 scooters, these branded as Jelly, deployed on campus over the next four weeks at Purdue?
“With these,” Madrid said, “at least we might learn something.”
Jelly, introduced on campus on Tuesday, is a Purdue research collaboration with Ford Smart Mobility, a division Ford Motor Co. created in 2016 to design, build and invest in what the company calls “emerging mobility services.”