The Original Segway Is Done For Good — but the Tour Groups Are Probably Here to Stay
The Segway PT will be discontinued in July.
It’s officially the end of the road — for Segway that is.
The vehicle-of-choice for tourists, mall cops, and maybe your mom and dad on vacation, is officially ending its production after 20 years, according to The Associated Press.
Segway Inc. announced on Tuesday that the company is officially retiring the Segway PT, possibly their original model, on July 15, The Associated Press reported. The Segway PT (Personal Transporter) is probably one of the most recognizable models, which was unveiled in 2001, according to the Segway website.
The decision to discontinue the Segway model comes in tandem with a reduction in staff — with 21 employees to be laid off, another 12 employees to stay on temporarily for two months to a year, and only five to remain at the New Hampshire manufacturing facility, according to The Associated Press.
The company mentioned in a statement that while the ongoing coronavirus pandemic certainly affected sales and production, it was not the main deciding factor to discontinue the model. The Associated Press reported that the Segway PT accounted for only 1.5 percent of sales for the company last year.
The original price tag was $5,000 per scooter, according to The Associated Press, which was a hefty expense for people who wished to buy one as a personal mobility tool. The difficulty of trying to ride one was also an obstacle, since you had to balance yourself perfectly in order to ride it smoothly. According to The Associated Press, the Segway PT was involved in a number of high-profile accidents over the years, including one incident involving former president George W. Bush in 2003 and the tragic death of British millionaire Jim Heselden in 2009, less than a year after he bought the company itself.
On top of the precarious ride, it also was the subject of some ridicule, namely because of the scooter’s look and design, as well as its popularity amongst cops and security guards, as well as guided tours in many cities around the world. No matter where you are, you’ve probably seen (or ran into) a gaggle of tourists slowly rolling through your city at some point. It’s unclear how many Segway tour companies will adapt as vehicles get older and breakdown in the coming years.
Depending on who you ask, the original Segway’s demise may be a tragedy or a celebration.
Rest in peace, Segway PT. We hardly knew ye.