It’s funny that not long after watching the 5th episode of the 22nd season of South Park that mocked electric scooters they appeared in Malaga just as they did in the cartoon. Some people love them others hate them, but one thing is fur sure, they will stay in Malaga for some time, chaning the life of the city, so far it’s hard to tell to worse or better.
In case you are interested, here is a link to the South Park episode, right in the first minute things go crazy as usual, and it just gets worse as times goes on: http://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s22e05-the-scoots
At the time of writing this article, there are more than 5 concurrent scooter companies trying to conquere Malaga: Jump, Lime, Tier, Wind and Voi, most of them offering an initial free ride to try the service and then charging a couple of euros per ride based on the time or distance traveled.
My first experience with the electric scooters in Malaga is kinda mixed, because I received an invitation link from a friend for the Tier scooters that offers a free initial ride. I installed their app on my phone and one day when I was getting late from a meeting, I decided to give the service a try. I started the app, found an available scooter nearby. I unlocked the scooter by readig the QR code with the app and then…
It turned out that the scooter was broken because the accelerating lever was loose, it didn’t work. So I locked the scooter with the app, even if I didn’t go anywhere, and that is how I used my free ride on nothing. I wrote an email to the customer service of the scooter company, notifying them about the broken scooter and my not so pleasant first experience. I didn’t really expect any response from them, that’s why it was surprising the email that I received next day, appologizing for the broken scooter in Malaga and giving me two free rides. I have to say that I am impressed by the customer service and when the scooters work they also really useful in some cases.
If you want to try Tier, here is promotion code that gives you a free ride: MHSk2
You can register to Tier by clicking here by entering your name and bank card details.
Of course, people won’t just use electric scooters in Malaga when they are late, so this is how I see the future: Imagine Jorge, he is a Malagueño and overweighted. He tries to lose weight by going to the gym walking on a threadmill. After doing his half an hour walking session he has a shower in the gym, changes his sweaty clothes to dry ones, unlocks a scooter in front of the gym and rides home, not understanding why his efforts in the gym are futile.
When there is something new going on, like AirBnB and Uber for example, there are always people who are against it and the news are full of articles that these services will be regulated and banned, right? Well, both of those are still here just as the scooters will stay in Malaga, and the reason is simple:
It’s very hard if not impossible to regulate them, especially in Malaga, in „the land of mañana” where the city council even if they want to make or change a regulation need years to actually pull it off, because it’s the winter holiday season, then siestas and fiestas, then the summer holiday season, then it’s almost winter and we enjoy the sunshine at the playa a bit more, and whoops it’s winter holiday season again, so we just deal with scooter thing next year. But seriously, if San Francisco couldn’t deal with the situation, then Malaga will? That would be the best joke ever.
Hypothetically, there is some regulation already, supposedly people should leave their scooters in designated spots, not just all over the city randomly as they want. Also, in the historical center supposedly they are banned. Well, in my experience there are still scooters everywhere and even if the city halls bans the scooter companies from certain areas of the city, what about the people who owe their own scooters?
I have 5 friends who bought an electric scooter, because it helps them in their daily commuting a lot. One of them for example but her daily 18 minuess walk to work to only 3 minutes, by using a scooter.
In case you wonder which is the preferred brand, here is the answer, even if unfortunately I am not getting any commission after the sales. The best scooter on the market according to me and my friends and the most ofthe internet is: Xiaomi M365. Supposedly it can go 30km range with one charge and it’s maximum speed is 25km/h. Durable, reliable, nice design, but in exchange it’s not cheap, it will set you back about 350 euros. Of course, there are cheaper brands and models, and even more expensive bigger models, such as the PRO version of the same Xiaomi scooter. Buy the one you like…
Personally, I owned an electric scooter for only 2 weeks. After trying it, I realised it’s not for me, and here is why:
1.) It makes you frickin’ lazy! I mean, if you spend 350 euros on a scooter, then you are going to use it as much as you can to justify the money you’ve spent right? You will end up going everywhere by scooter, not walking and then you end up doing extra hours of cardio in the gym to get rid of the newly grown fat around your waist.
2.) It’s not for reckless drivers (like me). I was always cruising with maximum speed, which is pretty fast and pretty scary for pedestrians on the sidewalk. For me it was fun, but then I realised that it’s just a matter of time before I accidentally hit someone.
But it was not just dangerous to others, but also to me! As I mentioned, I always went as fast as possible. When I crossed a street from a sidewalk to another sidewalk, cars had barely any time to notice me coming. If you are just a pedestrian walking, then the cars can see you, have time to react, breaking and letting you go. But when you are closing in by 25km/h on the sidewalk appearing from the cover of a building or tree, they have milliseconds to notice you before you end up under their car.
Sure, you could say… slow down, but come on! You didn’t buy a scooter that can go fast, to go slow with it right?
3.) Locking a bike is a kind of straightforward process. You can lock the frame to a pole, fence or something solid, quick and easy. However, locking your scooter (at least the Xiaomi M365) is a bitch. You have to loop the chain through the back wheel and then around a solid object. Since the scooter is on the ground, you have to squat and do this stunt in a quite uncomfortable position. Let’s just say that it is not the most classy or elegant way to arrive somewhere.
Of course, just because I decided that my life is safer, healthier and more elegant without a scooter, that I rather walk than ride, that doesn’t mean that for you it could not be the preferred way of transportation. I still strongly believe that scooters are the future, they consume less, take less space than cars pollute little and less noisy than motorbikes.