Like a science -fiction movie scene in a futuristic city, expect this fall to see groups of people effortlessly gliding through Old Town Scottsdale. They won’t be riding in hover cars as in “Star Wars,” nor will they be wearing jet packs as in “The Jetsons.” These downtown travelers will instead ride at top speeds of 12.5 mph on computerguided, two-wheel, electric Segway scooters.
“It was a misconception that it was a futuristic device that exists in sci-fi movies. People have started to realize that it is a useful everyday tool,” said Monica Zsamboky.
Zsamboky and her husband, Gabor, both of Scottsdale, are launching the city’s first Segway tours starting this fall.
The device uses microprocessors and sensors to balance itself and move in response to physical movements of its operator, according to the New Hampshire-based company’s Web site.
Monica Zsamboky said she and her husband came up with the tour idea based on their observation of the downtown area’s geography.
The distance from the farthest point in Old Town Scottsdale to Scottsdale Fashion Square mall is roughly a few miles, a span which she summed up as “too little for the car” and too far for some people to walk.
The couple is also in negotiations with the manufacturer to start a dealership here.
The unit, which sells on the average for just under $5,000, “gives you the freedom of not having to carry all this metal around,” Zsamboky said, referring to cars.
The city’s downtown liaison supports the Scottsdale couple’s plans.
“It’s cutting-edge technology and it does appeal to people,” said John Little Jr., executive director of The Downtown Group.
Little said the planned scooter tours, in addition to being good for the environmentally friendly, provide another connection to the downtown area for residents and visitors.
Scottsdale residents Frank Gray and his wife, Maja, have been using the electric scooters since 2001.
Gray, Scottsdale’s planning general manager, estimated he saves about $5 per week on gasoline by using his scooter for his daily commute.