20 years ago, I made my choice for “last mile transportation”: I bought a longboard (skate) and learned how to ride it.
I was already beyond 30 years old and not a particular fan of skateboarding. But I had a problem to solve: How do I cover the “Last Mile”???
The “Last Mile” in terms of people transportation is usually referring to the distance* between
– home and office
– train station and final destination (home, office, shopping, meeting…)
– outside city center parking and city center cafés, shopping, dentist… 😂
– A and B
*** – usually if distance is too small to use classical means of transportation or to walk
So in fact – it is mainly an alternative to walking. And since many players are convinced that there are billions to be made in this new market, we are actually taking about “monetization of walking”.
The typical (and not so typical…) vehicles are:
– electric scooters and kickscooters
– one wheels
– skates, rollerblades, segways
all “e” or classic, dockless or docked…, privately-owned or rentals
The Segways are an interesting example of a visionary product arriving too early: they deliver on the concept of last mile transportation – but nobody got it and they were too expensive….
Back to my own approach to the problem… I never saw the need to park close to the office or home – like walking and despise people who drive loops in front of the shopping centre – until they found a parking spot close to the entrance. But neither do I like the lost time when walking “the last mile”. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking and easily do 30km hikes. But when running errands or going to work, it is just not efficient enough.
So I started riding my longboard from the car, the train, even from the airport to my next destination – and loved it! Arrive at the car, throw it in the back seat, and off you go! Take it in the bus or the metro, office: no problem!
But don’t be fooled and think that this came for free… Aside from having to learn how to skateboard and buying the hardware, the real price are the crashes and faceplants! I will never forget, when I was living and working in Geneva, went for lunch on the skateboard, caught a pothole and faceplanted onto the sidewalk – in front of a huge audience… For the tiny skateboard wheels, anything uneven qualifies as a pothole…
And that is the same dilemma with today’s electric kick scooters! (Link)
But back to the story: I kept dwelling on this whole last mile thing, tried different solutions and tried to engage people around me in “vision brainstorms” – I believed that this was one of the biggest untapped logistics challenges – and businesses. But honestly, nobody got the idea… As it looks today, I seem to have been talking to the wrong people, as the “micro mobility” industry came out of nowhere in 2018 and promises some of the fastest and highest profits in this decade. And it is only the beginning…
It looks like the concept of motorized kick-scooters is not that new…
In the 1910s, there was a boom in scooter riding–and very familiar complaints about scooter behavior in cities–until cars pushed the devices off the streets.
I remain deeply involved in this topic, stay tuned for more!