They glide on what looks like a kiddie razor scooter, weaving in and out of cars, cycles and pedestrians alike. These dockless electric scooters are swarming many cities of Europe. I saw them in use all over Berlin, one of the world’s most-loved-by-millennials cities and was reminded of our kiddie scooters that you would drag along to gain momentum and then hop on the platform to ride the next 20 metres, steering with a scooter-like handle. A micro urban mobility solution has taken these kiddie playthings to the next level by adding a better body, motor and a link to an app. The pesky mobile platforms with a handle are proving to be both an efficient solution for very short distance travellers—between the tram stop and the office—or by tourists who have all day to cruise along, and are proving to be an urban nuisance since they are too new (just about a year old) for meaningful regulation. The older Berliners are not impressed and hate the fact that users will simply leave the micro vehicle in the middle of a pavement and walk away. Micro urban legends talk about instances of irate citizens picking the gadget up and chucking it in the river Spree!
Every new leap of tech use leaves a trail of cheers and abuses. India is far behind big changes in urban mobility though Delhi is recently experimenting with some micro urban mobility solutions. If you wondered what the colourful almost-bikes chugging away next to your vehicle in Delhi are, you should know that you could be on-boarding one of such almost-vehicles soon once the last mile issues are worked out.