Schlepping in Seattle

It began as an adventure in October 2000, when Seattle's Public Utilities water meter readers started using six $5,000 Segways.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

These self-balancing, electric-powered, stand-on scooters have since become the preferred mode of transport. They are predicted to save the city authorities more than $26,000 over their 10-year lifespan by increasing productivity, improving personal safety and reducing the use of more expensive transport. At first, local authority water meter readers were sceptical about the transporters - which look like an electric zimmerframe on wheels - but soon took to them. Workers cover more meters more quickly and no longer have to lug heavy equipment around - the scooter's handy pockets take care of that - and it's impossible to fall off a Segway (unless you're Dubya). So successful has the scheme been that Seattle has bought 10 more transporters for use in pilot schemes for litter-gatherers and parking meter coin collectors. That'll help balance the books.

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