Segway, which boldly claimed its two-wheeled personal transporter would revolutionize the way people get around, is ending production of its namesake vehicle. The Segway PT, popular with tourists and police officers but perhaps better known for its high-profile crashes, will be retired on July 15, the company said in a statement. “Within its first decade, the Segway PT became a staple in security and law enforcement, viewed as an effective and efficient personal vehicle,” said Segway president Judy Cai in a statement, noting that in the past decade it gained popularity with vacationers in major cities in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. But the Segway, which carries a standing passenger on a wide platform, accounted for less than 1.5% of the company’s revenue last year.
The company said 21 employees will be laid off, another 12 employees will stay on for two months to a year and five will remain at the facility in Bedford, NH, the AP reports. “This decision was not made lightly, and while the current global pandemic did impact sales and production, it was not a deciding factor in our decision,” Cai said. The transportation revolution that inventor Dean Kamen envisioned when he founded the company in 1999 never took off. The Segway's original price tag of around $5,000 was a hurdle for many customers. It also was challenging to ride because the rider had to be balanced at a specific angle for the vehicle to move forward. If the rider's weight shifted too much in any direction, it could easily spin out of control and throw the rider off. They were banned in some cities because users could easily lose control if they were not balanced properly. Segway got into scooters in 2017.
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