Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Amsterdam goes green with electric scooter taxis

Published on Oct 1, 2012 9:36 PM
People ride a 'hopper' electric scooter in Amsterdam on Sept 27, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

AMSTERDAM (REUTERS) - Six years ago Dutchman Ruben Beugels was on an Amsterdam tram that broke down, leaving him stuck in an out-of-the way place, and late for an appointment when he couldn't quickly find another means of transport.

"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," said Mr Beugels, founder of Hopper, Europe's first electric taxi scooter service, which will debut in Amsterdam on Monday.

Amsterdam's 17th Century canals and cobbled streets make driving cars, including taxis, in the centre of the city often difficult and time consuming due to unloading trucks, congestion or road blocks, which is one of the reasons so many Amsterdamers prefer to use bicycles within the city centre.

Dutch public transport, including trams, trains and buses, is generally considered reliable and efficient, but these services, which span out like a fan from the main central train station reaching to the city's edge, aren't available throughout the oldest parts of Amsterdam's city centre, which Mr Beugels hopes will become Hopper's new turf.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!