Eighteen months after their introduction, Auckland’s ‘BIG little City Guides’ (ambassadors) have clocked up almost 6,000km on the pair of Segway i2 Patrollers.
The guides are a Heart of the City initiative. During the summer months at least six Guides can be found out on the streets of downtown Auckland assisting tourists and locals with advice and support, working with City Watch wardens and passing on information to emergency services. At any one time, two Guides will be on Segway Patrollers while the others are on foot. During winter, the team size is reduced, so the improved productivity, efficiency and visibility offered by the Segway Patroller becomes even more valuable to the organisation in terms of delivering ‘bang for buck’ to the public.
Heart of the City is downtown Auckland’s business association. CEO Alex Swney had been keen to put their City Guides onto Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) for years, and in November 2010 he initiated a trial program with two rented Segway i2 Patroller models from Segway New Zealand. Eight staff were trained to ride, and the trial was so successful that Heart of the City purchased two Patrollers in early 2011. After just a year on the pavements, team leader Werner Mascarenhas reports the pair of Patrollers have clocked up almost 6,000km.
The Guides enjoy using the Segway Patroller because this model features a front shield to let people know who they are, a large front bag to hold free brochures and maps, and a raincoat and water bottle for the rider. The Patroller model is also fitted with comfort mats to absorb bumps during hours out on patrol. These Segway Personal Transporters are speed limited by Heart of the City to less than 12 km/h (a brisk walk or jogging speed), and there have been no collisions, incidents or accidents. Of course, this is not surprising because the Segway Personal Transporter was specifically designed to be safe and appropriate for use in busy pedestrian environments.
Atlanta, Georgia USA was the first city to deploy Ambassadors on Segway Personal Transporters in 2003, and they have become an increasingly common site in cities around the world.
Another Auckland organisation that has deployed Ambassador staff on a Segway Patroller over both summer 2010/11 and summer 2011/12 is Cornwall Park.