Segway Sets Things Rolling In Waikiki

Company brings a fresh twist to touring

By: Dawna L. Robertson

Waikiki and Honolulu are a walker’s wonderland. Aside from the favorable weather, of stretch and sand and city brims with activities and attractions. Yet, even the heartiest hoofers can wear down after days of pounding the vacation pavement.

Enter Segway of Hawaii, bringing a fun, fast and energy efficient alternative for hitting Hawaii’s highlights via the Segway Human Transporter (HT).

Opening at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa in January, Segway glides along guided “town tours” utilizing these battery-operated personal transportation devices.

The vehicle is designed to provide riders with the same but enhanced ability to move, navigate and stop as people walking or jogging. It operates intuitively and can turn in place, outmaneuvering cars and carts, and outclassing bikes and scooters.

According to Alan Rice, owner of Segway of Hawaii, Waikiki is a natural for the Segway HT. “Every aspect is designed to coexist with people, sharing the same space,” he explained.

“Segway is constructed to meet the highest criteria of safety in order to be integrated into pedestrian environments,” said Rice. “The self-balancing devices are designed to go anywhere people do.”

He added that the quiet, pollution free Segways earn an energy equivalent of 450 miles per gallon.

As for operational ease, Rice remarked that people are surprised at how simple it is to “master” the powerful two-wheeler. “There’s no balancing involved. It’s like standing on the ground.”

And then, there’s the fun factor.

“When I’m riding one, I literally have people chasing me down to find out where I got it,” Rice said. “It’s total excitement! People say they feel like a celebrity when they’re riding one because everyone looks at them.”

Through Segway of Hawaii, Segway HTs are available for use on a selection of tours covering Waikiki and Downtown Honolulu. “You can see a whole lot more in a lot less time,” Rice pointed out. “It’s great to stop for photos, get off, relax, then get back on.”

Tours include a two-hour Waikiki/Kapiolani Park/Diamond Head outing for $110, a 90-minute or two-hour Waikiki Glide Ride for $79 and $99 respectively, a 2.75-hour Honolulu History and Culture trek for $99 and the flexible Ultimate Glide private glide ride for $125 and up. New lithium batteries allow users to ride up to 25 miles on a single charge.

All tours are escorted, with one guide leading the group and one in the rear. Those growing attached to their Segway HT can continue using it after the tour for an additional fee. Tours are limited to those 16 and over, and require completion of Segway’s exclusive Train, Tour and Test process.

“In general, people get the feel for riding within 10 minutes and become proficient after an hour or so,” Rice commented. “It’s especially good for people who come in on the cruise ships since they can sightsee without renting a car. Also, physically challenged and older people find it a great way to see a lot.”

Plans call for Segway of Hawaii to expand beyond its Hilton Hawaiian Village site on Oahu to select locations on The Big Island and Maui.

Commissionable at 20 percent, Segway requires that agents sign an agreement and be pre-registered in the company’s system.