On a picture-perfect weekend day at the Boston Common, plenty of people could be seen taking in the sights on foot, but what stood out were the several who were making their way through the area on Segway scooters.
That’s how Segway-Ninebot wants it, according to company representatives, who envision their e-products as providing a short-distance alternative to cars, public transportation and even walking in urban cities like Boston.
It doesn’t hurt sales, either, that spiking gas prices are causing consumers to look for different ways to get around, according to Tom Hebert, VP of sales for Segway.
“What we like to do is not just talk about great products but show that you can actually ride and use, and frankly, trust that the Segway product is going to be there for you when you need it,” Hebert said.
“What our consumers are finding and using our product for is daily commute. They’re depending on Segway products to be able to get them from work to home, or work to play, or home to the grocery store.”
It’s a pitch the company — formerly known as the New Hampshire-based Segway, Inc. before it was acquired by Chinese company Ninebot in 2015 — has been making for more than two decades. When its iconic two-wheeler personal transporter, Segway HT, was launched in 2001, company founder Dean Kamen promised it would revolutionize city transportation.
But two years ago, Segway announced it would be ceasing production on the model, later called the Segway PT, which the AP reported had made up less than 1.5% of its revenue in 2019, though it did become a staple among law enforcement and the tourism industry.
The company has matured in its slate of products since its inception, Hebert said, and is making another push toward trying to sell the new-look Segway as a reliable option in cities like Boston, which is dealing with public transportation and parking challenges.
It’s banking on a social-media friendly campaign, “Segway Across America,” now in its third year, which sees an influencer travel by Segway across part of the country.
This year, 22-year-old Instagram influencer Yasmine Ashley is traversing more than 1,400 miles from Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Miami, Fla., on an eScooter E110A, Segway’s newest product that was announced in March.
The “East Coast Edition” of the campaign made its second of four planned stops in Everett Saturday, where the public was given a chance to test out the range of Segway products, though not the E110A, which was only parked for aesthetic purposes at a pop-up tent outside Best Buy.
Lien Chen, a marketing director at Segway, said Ashley was chosen for this year’s challenge because of her commitment to sustainability, which aligns with the company’s mission.
“Being from the West Coast, I don’t get to adventure along the East Coast often,” said Ashley, a San Diego-based beach and surfing enthusiast. “It’s long, but I’m excited for all the places I get to visit along the way.”
Everett, MA. – July 9: Alex Warren, 14, of Cambridge, Mass., rides a Segway scooter in the parking lot of the Best Buy as part of the Segway Across America East Coast Initiative, July 9, 2022 in Everett, MA. (Photo By Mary Schwalm/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) Everett, MA. – July 9: Christian Mapp, 9, visiting from Leesburg, Virginia, tries out a Segway scooter in the parking lot of the Best Buy as part of the Segway Across America East Coast Initiative, July 9, 2022 in Everett, MA. (Photo By Mary Schwalm/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)