By Kate Jewusiak
When constructing the ideal schedule, travel time can easily be overlooked. As a result, students always find creative new ways to get across Grounds to class. One mode of transportation that has become increasingly more common is the Boosted board.
Boosted boards are a specific brand of electric skateboards. At their top speeds, they can reach 12 or 13 miles per hour. The charge lasts about seven to eight miles.
“Realistically, for most people using the mid-speed level … it gets you anywhere from eight or nine miles on a good day,” said Yash Tekriwal, a HackCville staff member and fourth-year College and Commerce student.
Borne out of HackCville, Boost Cville creates an easily-accessible electric skateboard ride share program for all students. Boost Cville is located on Elliewood Avenue — convenient for students living both on- and off-Grounds.
“It’s essentially our version of bike share in some ways, but instead for Boosted boards,” Tekriwal said. “For us, Boosted boards are an easier way to get around Charlottesville specifically as a city. The terrain is really good for a board.”
“It’s a great sustainable form of transportation,” said Allison Garrett, a HackCville staff member and fourth-year College student. “But electric skateboards are really unaffordable for the average college student. Boost Cville aims to provide electric skateboards at a cheaper rate for students to rent.”
If you have never skateboarded before, Boosted boards are easy to learn. In fact, Tekriwal cites the Boosted board’s ease of use as a leading factor in the creation of Boost Cville. Tekriwal and fellow HackCville member Daniel Willson got their own personal Boosted boards, but neither knew how to skate. They were able to learn within 10 minutes.
“We thought about the ease of learning it and also the amount of fun we had being able to go around the City relatively quickly,” Tekriwal said. “We thought about how we could get more people doing this rather than just getting our friends on it all the time, and we thought we could make a little Boosted board share.”
Boost Cville includes a free helmet rental with the board rental. While the company emphasizes the ease of operating the Boosted board, they also stress the importance of knowing turn signals, riding in the bike lane and wearing a helmet for safety purposes.
Garrett assures new riders will be given resources to feel prepared before their rental.
“We send out an email with all of the information you need for a new rider,” Garrett said. “We do a free 30 minute lesson for each new customer in which we show them how to ride a skateboard [and] how the remote works.”
“They’re pretty safe, as long as you’re being careful about where you’re going on the road,” Tekriwal said.
Boost Cville provides an alternative form of transportation for students getting across Grounds, the company also makes it easier for students to explore other parts of Charlottesville.
“A lot of people talk about how there’s a gap between the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville community,” Garrett said. “I think Boost Cville is really aiming to bridge that gap by providing students with a form of transportation to help them explore Charlottesville.”
Garrett recommends a day pass to explore the Downtown Mall and IX Art Park. Tekriwal said Boost Cville has been most popular for dates or for adventures with friends downtown or to the Belmont area, but he personally benefits most from on-Grounds transportation.
“The biggest advantage to me has actually been that it makes going to and from class a lot faster,” Tekriwal said. “It was fast to go down the road on a board, and I could take that board with me inside the classroom and just pin it up against the wall, which is pretty convenient.”
Boost Cville runs out of HackCville on Elliewood Ave. The company rents out Boosted boards for one hour, two hours or day passes. The price ranges from $10 for one hour to a $25 day pass. You can buy a pass from their website. After purchasing a pass, the company sends an email.
“From there, you can make an inquiry for the actual rental and the time you want the rental for,” Tekriwal said. “If anyone wants to inquire for other times, they’re welcome to talk to us because our emails are also on the website.”
For those who are interested in checking out the Boosted boards, Boost Cville will host demo days in the spring.
“It’s been a fun project for us to work on, and fun to see how people react to it,” Tekriwal said. “We’re excited to see how it works when the weather gets warmer.”