For my birthday last year, my wife got me a Xootr – one of those kick scooters just like the kind you see kids riding everywhere, but for adults. I almost returned it. I just couldn’t see myself using it. Then I thought, “…well, let me just take it out for a ride around the block.” Five minutes later, I was hooked on what I now think is the future of transportation in dense cities.
I haven’t stopped using it since. I even took it out today, with 5″ of fresh snow on the ground (not advised).
Here’s why scooters like the Xootr are the future of transportation: they save you an insane amount of time in your daily routine. Everything in my local world here in Brooklyn is about a ten minute walk from me. Forget about cars – I only use mine on the weekend. And forget for the moment about the subway – I use it to get to the city on days I have meetings. But 80% of what I do during my day consists of going to places that are a ten minute walk from me. And scooting turns a ten minute walk into a 3-minute ride.
Then, when you get where you’re going, you take it inside with you. No bothering to lock it up, or find a place to put it (let alone park it). Just get where you’re going, pick it up, sling it over your shoulder and go.
If I make, on average, four trips out of the house and back each day, that’s 80 minutes of getting around cut down to 24 minutes. How could I stop using that, once I’ve started?
Scooters are to transportation like Twitter is to publishing – the most basic unit possible. And they have all of the same advantages: easy, light, fast, flexible. They make bikes seem cumbersome by comparison. Locks and bike racks and such – who has the time or the space?
Scooters + subways & buses = all of the transportation you need in a city like New York. 95% of your transportation needs are met. (In places like SF maybe you throw an occasional cab ride into the mix to get that same 95% number).
Super efficient, super cheap, super scalable, super easy to use, and of course eco-friendly.
They triple the distance you can live from a subway stop and still have a reasonably short commute.
They reinforce local, neighborhood community and economies by encouraging users to shop locally rather than hop in the car and go to the mall 5 miles away.
They have the potential to disrupt the way getting around happens in cities.
So if they’re so great, why haven’t more people adopted them? You barely ever see someone on a scooter, even here in Brooklyn. There’s clearly something stopping them from taking off right now. Xootr and others are driving with their handbrake on, one way or another.
Whoever figures that piece out solves the billion-dollar question and transforms the way people get around in cities.
Naturally, I think I know the answer to that…