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Europe’s First Electric Scooter Taxi Service

by Amsterdam.com
 A new electric scoter taxi service in Amsterdam hopes to become a new type of public transportation that fills in the gaps in the city’s existing public transport system.

Getting stuck on an inner-city Amsterdam tram that broke down provided Dutchman Ruben Beugels with the inspiration to start Hopper, Europe's first electric taxi scooter service which make its debut this month in that city. It was just six short years ago when Beugels got stranded and he said of the experience that “I was very frustrated at being late, and it was then that I thought, hey a scooter would be able to get me to my meeting on time.” Locals and tourists alike know that Amsterdam's canals and picturesque, yet narrow cobblestone streets can make driving cars, buses and taxis, difficult and time consuming, and explains why so many people there prefer to use bicycles to travel within the center of the city.

Although the Dutch system of public transportation, including trams, trains and buses, is usually fairly reliable and efficient, many of the services that ply the routes from the main central train station to the edges of the city are just not available in some of the oldest parts of city’s center, and these areas of limited service are where Mr. Beugels hopes his new Hopper electric taxi scooter service will shine. Beugels says his scooter service will form a new type of public transportation that will help fill in the gaps between the existing public transport system and the ability to get right to the doorstep of a traveler’s final destination.

The Hopper scooters are not just bare bones transport either, as they are all fitted with navigation and tracking systems from the Dutch firm TomTom and each also has a Samsung smart phone on the dash and a Samsung tablet device on the back that is used for digital advertising duties. The high-tech electric scooters have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and can go about 80 miles on a fully charged electric battery. Beugels hopes his current fleet of 100 bright lime green scooters will soon become a viable alternative to the existing public transportation systems in Amsterdam and if things work out, he has plans to roll out his Hopper service in the three other largest Dutch cities of The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht sometime in 2013. Since the scooters are practically noiseless and non-polluting, and the standard flat rate fare is just $3.25, it’s a good bet that Mr. Beugels’ Hoppers will fit right in with Amsterdam’s eco-friendly lifestyle.

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