NOT SUCH AN ELEC­TRIC IDEA

THE NEW E-SCOOT­ERS MAY SAVE A PRETTY PENNY ON TRANS­PORT BUT I’M STILL MOVED BY THE BEN­E­FITS OF TUK-TUKS FOR THE MASSES

Life & Style Weekend - - TUGBOAT TALES - WORDS: ASH­LEY ROBIN­SON

Trans­port and in­fras­truc­ture is on ev­ery­one’s lips at the mo­ment around the Coast with our blos­som­ing pop­u­la­tion growth. Ev­ery­one has an opin­ion on traf­fic and get­ting from A to B – whether the al­ter­na­tive be light rail, rail, driver­less buses or drones. I apol­o­gise to taxi/uber driv­ers up front for what I am about to write. It is not meant to be detri­men­tal to them in any way and prob­a­bly is best de­scribed as partly fic­tion. I see an Amer­i­can com­pany has started sup­ply­ing elec­tric scoot­ers and bikes in Syd­ney – about 300 of them. You down­load an app and it costs you $1 to un­lock it and 30 cents per minute on your trip and they pick it up off you once you get there, and even give you a dis­count if you recharge it for them. I live 16km away from work and these elec­tric steeds can reach speeds of up to 24km/h. So I reckon even if I got ev­ery red light (and there is about 1000 of them along Nick­lin Way) and it took me the whole hour, it would only cost $19 max. Plus, if I plugged it in to the neigh­bours’ power point (oops, I mean mine), it would be a lot less. Or, if I stayed on the bike paths and did it in half the time, it would only be nine bucks, less the recharge, which is whole lot dif­fer­ent than a cab fare. Sounds great, doesn’t it? And it would be even more ef­fi­cient in CBD out­ings like the Plaza: no park­ing wor­ries, no wait­ing for taxis or buses, and just throw it in the river when you are fin­ished – just like shop­ping trol­leys and the push­bikes set up in Bris­bane, be­cause sadly that’s what would hap­pen. Ac­tu­ally, you prob­a­bly wouldn’t pitch it in the river be­cause of the app with all your de­tails. But it wouldn’t stop some peanut walk­ing home from the pub from pitch­ing it into the river, the ocean, the on ramp or what­ever was clos­est after you had fin­ished with it and be­fore staff re­trieved it. I guess that would be the first ques­tion I would want an­swered be­fore I signed up with the app: who is re­spon­si­ble for the thing after I had fin­ished with it and if and when it was re­trieved? Sure, call me neg­a­tive, and sure, in NZ, our cousins across the ditch have just cel­e­brated their 300,000 trip. So does that mean I think Ki­wis are more ad­vanced than us? Prob­a­bly. Yes: en­vi­ron­men­tally, any­way. I do think it is a great idea but, like El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor’s 7th hus­band (or 8th if you count Richard Bur­ton twice), it’s doomed for fail­ure. I still think my idea years ago at get­ting a con­tainer load of tuk-tuks over here from In­dia would solve get­ting the masses home around the Coast. But I am sure our love of lit­i­ga­tion would never al­low that to hap­pen. Now, here is an idea: what about elec­tric tuk-tuks? That would tick all the boxes. But un­til I can fig­ure that out, I will stick with my usual Sun­coast Cabs. At least I know I will get home safe.

“I DO THINK IT IS A GREAT IDEA BUT, LIKE EL­IZ­A­BETH TAY­LOR’S 7TH HUS­BAND (OR 8TH IF YOU COUNT RICHARD BUR­TON TWICE), IT’S DOOMED FOR FAIL­URE.”

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