READY TO ROLL

Dheeraj Emka, front, prepares to ride with Krishna Alahari, right, and Shravya Tanneeru, left, using LINK e-scooters in Aggieville. LINK recently started providing e-scooter rentals in Manhattan.

There have been about 15,000 rides on e-scooters since rentals started in the community about two weeks ago.

LINK, a micromobility company offering e-scooter ride sharing services, launched the e-scooter program Aug. 16.

Operations manager Evan Lochmiller estimated that the city hit the 15,000 mark Thursday afternoon. “We have just really loved the reaction that we’ve gotten from the use of this,” Lochmiller said.

Officials held a forum Thursday to discuss e-scooters to provide more information about the devices.

“We hope you enjoy riding, be safe, use common sense, all good things that we want you to do everyday,” said Vivienne Uccello, public information officer for the city. “We’ll see where this takes us.”

LINK has approval for deploying up to 500 e-scooters, but there are currently 350 in the community, officials said.

Jared Wasinger, assistant to the city manager, talked about his recent ride on an e-scooter. He said the e-scooters are sturdy and weigh about 50 pounds.

“It was a fun experience,” he said.

Anyone age 18 and older can rent the dockless e-scooters around Manhattan and on the Kansas State University campus. The e-scooters, which can be accessed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily using the LINK app, will cost people $1 to start the rental and 15 cents per minute.

Lochmiller said K-State students have done a really good job of taking care of the e-scooters.

Riders can operate e-scooters on roads, but not on sidewalks in Aggieville and downtown Manhattan or in city parking lots and garages. They also cannot ride on any highway within the city, except when crossing. People can ride the e-scooters on sidewalks elsewhere as long as they yield to pedestrians. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour.

A city ordinance requires people to park the devices in city-approved racks or locations while in Aggieville or downtown Manhattan. Otherwise, they can be parked on street side curbs or on private property when allowed by the owner.

LINK picks up the e-scooters at the end of the day, and employees pick up e-scooters if they are in the way on sidewalks or in other areas. They also pick up e-scooters with low batteries to recharge.

Lochmiller recognized that this new program can be jarring, but said the community has been supportive.

“Everyone has been very accepting and as helpful as they can be,” he said. “And we just want to thank everyone for that.”