There is no shortage of vehicles that we could be sharing as we look for better ways to get around. For starters, why settle for scooters when we could also have bigger scooters?
"We stay off sidewalks, and I think that’s a big reason why we’ve been so successful in our pilot here in New York," said Frank Reig, chief executive officer and co-founder of Revel, a scooter sharing company based in Brooklyn.
Unlike the scooters under debate around here, Revel’s scooters are street-worthy electric mopeds. Their whole moped sharing system works from an app on your phone — from finding a scooter near you, to reserving it, to starting it up.
"You click 'start ride' and that moped is on, the helmet case pops open," he explained. "There’s two different size helmets in the back. You grab the one that fits you and you’re off. That’s it."
Since the mopeds top out at 30 miles per hour, you don’t need a motorcycle license to drive one. As for safety, Reig says in some 25,000 rides during their nearly year-long pilot in Brooklyn, there’s not been a single serious accident. Revel plans to expand to other cities soon. And while we could lobby to be next, why follow New York’s lead?
Why not chart our own course and become the first area to offer — wait for it — a rideable suitcase share.
"Our product, Modobag, Is a carry-on piece of luggage," said Modobag's Chief Marketing Officer Tim Ryan. "It can be pulled behind you. In less than 10 seconds it can transform into a mobility device and you can ride it at speeds of up to seven miles per hour for a range of 11 miles. "
It’s pretty easy to imagine why riding your luggage might fun — maybe even practical — at an airport. But could it really work in the city like a bike share does? Ryan asks why not. The Modobag works just fine outside. And for — say — tourists going from their hotel to Newbury Street, or for locals heading to and from the grocery store, Modobag might be just the ticket.
"Where we might actually be of benefit is you can stow things in our product as well," said Ryan. "Where the bike might have a basket on it, you’re not gonna be able to fit much in that basket."
Sharing cars and bikes and mopeds and scooters and rideable luggage is all well and good. And heck, we could share hoverboards or hovershoes or electric unicycles, too. But to really get the future of personal transportation off the ground, maybe what we actually need to do is — get it off the ground.
"We’re most known for our world famous hoverbike — which is a single person, essentially, flying motorcycle drone that you can fly around on," said Joseph Segura-Conn, with the California-based Hoversurf.
This is not a joke. The hoverbike is real. You don’t need a pilot’s license to fly it, but the FAA does classify it as ultra-light aircraft, which means — for now — it’s a no go in the city. But Segura-Conn said that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to ride on one here.
"One thing that will shock you is our company and other companies are working on things called air taxis," he said.
In addition to Hoversurf, Segura-Conn says companies including Boeing, Airbus, and Uber are furiously working on the development of these 4-6 person, piloted, hoverbikes.
"Imagine being able to open up the application on your phone, request essentially a flying car, and rather than sitting through traffic, you go right over," he said. "It would save you a lot of time."
As far-fetched as it sounds, Segura-Conn said that he expects these air taxis to be appearing in the skies above select cities in the next five to 10 years.
"Oh, it’s 100 percent gonna happen," he said. "And like I tell people, it’s gonna happen faster than anyone expects."
Whether air taxis ever actually come to fruition is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure. Scooters will not be the last vehicle some upstart company wants us to share on — or above — city streets.
A previous version of this story misspelled Frank Reig's last name as Reed, and incorrectly stated that Revel scooters go 35 mph. The scooters top out at 30 mph. The above story reflects these changes.