Segway Pilot Project in Nova Scotia

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Well, it’s been 2 years of lobbying, meetings and proposals, but we finally have a Segway Pilot Project approved for Nova Scotia!

I think Nova Scotia’s TIR staff got it right.  They managed to put together regulations that are flexible enough to allow a good mix of participants, but at the same time maintain a level of control that has safety as the top priority.

As a Segway Tour Operator in Nova Scotia, we are obviously pleased.  This allows us to expand our tours beyond the Halifax Waterfront, and give people the opportunity to see more of Halifax in a safe, fun and unique way.  It also presents new tourism opportunities for other businesses and potential tour operators right across Nova Scotia.

Our application to enter the pilot project has been submitted, and we now wait for approval (a little more red tape…).  I know there are sceptics and opponents out there.  I know some pedestrians will challenge the notion that Segways are “pedestrians” when on sidewalks; and I know some cyclists/drivers will argue we should not be in the bike lanes and/or on roadways – and be classified as “cyclists” when Segways go there.  I hope people will give this pilot project a chance.  It is a pilot project. By it’s very nature, it is intended to create awareness, gather data and feedback for TIR, and ultimately help create permanent legislation for a new, eco-friendly form of transportation.  Segway PTs are nothing new.  They have been around for 12 years.  Much of the rest of the world has already studied them ad nauseum  and there is existing legislation all over the world.  Nova Scotia is doing it’s due diligence, and we respect that.

In fact, Nova Scotia has now taken the lead in Canada, with respect to Segways.  Yes, Alberta and Ontario are years into discussions and pilot projects, but Nova Scotia has formally introduced legislation and now the “Segway Pilot Project Regulations”.  I believe Nova Scotia and these regulations will serve as a model for other provinces to consider new, innovative, alternative modes of transportation going forward.

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New tours for 2013!

As the 2013 tour season approaches, we are thrilled to introduce 2 new Segway PT tours!

The Halifax Waterfront Tour brings this fun and unique experience to the heart of Halifax.  Your guided tour of the beautiful & historic Halifax Waterfront will take you along the boardwalk, stretching from Chebucto Landing to the Seaport District.

Drop in to NovaScotian Crystal; see Theodore Tugboat, CSS Acadia & HMCS Sackville; glide by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic towards “The Wave” at Sackville Landing. Observe the activities at Sands at Salter as you make you way to the impressive Emera Building.

An extended waterfront tour option is coming soon…

We are now hiring tour guides for this Halifax Waterfront tour.  See job posting here.

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If off-roading is more your style, the Ski Martock Tour is for you.

OnTree Fun & Adventure Park, in partnership with Segway Nova Scotia is pleased to offer this outdoor experience.  Your guided tour, riding your very own Segway PT will take you around the trails of the Adventure Park, as you observe the various activities among the trees of Martock.

Combine your Segway adventure with a tree-top activity, or stay on the ground…

Either way, the Segway x2 off-road Personal Transporter will get you smiling!

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NDP Government hinders economic development & tourism opportunities for small businesses in Nova Scotia

It seems that this NDP Government has led us on for months, by suggesting that there was interest and the political will to take a green, eco-friendly, established, sustainable technology, and help create new jobs.

It also appears that a recent PC Bill introduced on November 19th has inadvertently ended any chances of Segway-friendly legislation getting passed this year.  Don’t get me wrong, we applaud the PC Party for understanding our vision, and trying to do something.  What is so very disappointing, is that Partisan Politics is now interfering with job creation and common sense.  As one NDP MLA said to us “… that (opposition) Bill won’t go anywhere…”.

In a recent letter, Minister Smith (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal – TIR) stated:

“While many US states do permit the use of Segway PTs, they are currently not formally permitted in any Canadian provinces.  Alberta is contemplating permitting the use of Segway PTs and is conducting a pilot project allowing their limited use.  The Province of Ontario is currently undertaking a pilot project and study around the use of Segway PTs on sidewalks by a limited number of users.”

“Both of these studies are expected to be completed within the next year, and we will consider those results in our deliberations.  The 2006 study that you mention is helpful in considering the impacts on road users, and we will also take it into consideration when developing any regulatory framework for these devices.”

If the Minister feels he has to look to Canada for examples, then why didn’t he mention New Brunswick – right next door?

We have been informed that the New Brunswick Department of Transportation considers Segway PTs legal on N.B. streets and sidewalks.  Their position is, that since Segway PTs are not illegal, then they are permitted as pedestrian assistance devices, similar to electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters.  With this forward-thinking position, N.B. is poised to realize economic development and tourism benefits, while other provinces lag behind in multi-year studies and bureaucratic red tape.  New Brunswick companies have already approached us for information and assistance regarding new Segway business opportunities.

We are also perplexed that this Minister is looking to, and waiting for a 7-year pilot project that Ontario finds itself in.  It is beyond me as to why you need a 7-year trial.  Obviously there is something wrong with the parameters of that pilot project.  I would argue that the two year study and report already completed for Transport Canada (not to mention countless other studies already done) would and should allow The Government of Nova Scotia to immediately pass legislation regarding Segway PTs.

This is senseless red tape.  Their position is clearly hindering economic development and tourism opportunities, not just for us, but for other tour operators and businesses that are interested in this market.  New jobs and new forms of revenue aside, there are benefits to both businesses and Nova Scotians alike, from productivity…  to cost savings… to the environment.  For example, as a working tool for police, security companies, postal workers, parking enforcement, meter readers, etc.  Individuals with mobility issues would have another choice for how they can get around, while all individuals would now have a truly green, alternative form of transport available.

We are aware of the “project underway to renew the Motor Vehicle Act”, which is already 4 years in the making.  I fail to understand the need to wait for a replacement Act, which is not expected for another 12-24 months.  According to TIR, the rewritten Act will only provide provisions for the authorization of pilot studies for devices such as the Segway PT – more bureaucratic red tape.  Why not amend the current Motor Vehicle Act now?

The PC Party is willing to do this, with the Bill they introduced.

The Minister’s response is simply not acceptable.

 

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

July 13, 2012:  Met with Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR).  For a few days we were excited to have received a quick, affirmative response to our request for a meeting.  We were well prepared, and hoped to accomplish a few simple objectives:  1) introduce our company; 2) familiarize staff with Segway PTs as an eco-friendly, alternative form of transportation; 3) find out if there was support for our efforts to have Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMDs), including the Segway PT, classified and legalized under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Well, it seems that TIR has been well aware of EPAMDs since the release of the Segway PT in 2001, and it also appears that (their words, not mine), the department is “not philosophically opposed” to EPAMDs; however, between TIR’s claim that the entire Motor Vehicle Act is being rewritten and replaced, and the hint that they suspect there will be a spring election call, we were told, in unequivocal terms, by Deputy Minister LaFleche, to put a two-year timeline on our business plan.  Staff present at the meeting claim that the current Motor Vehicle Act does not allow for a pilot project or exemption, nor would there be any opportunities in 2012 for amendments.  Hmmm.  I wonder, then, how they managed to study and classify the e-bike?

Posted on the TIR website is a Sustainable Transportation Strategy.  Segway PTs meet all three criteria used to define “sustainable transportation”.  The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act sets out, in part, as the foundation and principles of the Act that “…the environment and the economy must be managed for the benefit of present and future generations…” and “…innovative solutions are necessary to mutually reinforce the environment and the economy…”  I fail to see how delaying the classification of an emissions free, viable, alternative form of transportation, which has already been studied ad nauseum and legislated by governments all around the world, is managing the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.  It seems more like not acting, if you ask me.

The opportunity we had to hire students this summer under the Canada Summer Jobs Program has been lost.  We have potential customers with medical and physical limitations who want to be able to legally use these devices on streets and/or sidewalks to regain their mobility.  Couriers, security patrollers, police, letter carriers, meter readers… (the list goes on),  are just going to have to wait to put this remarkable, working tool into action.  Forget traffic congestion, greenhouse gas, the rising cost of fuel, insurance, parking.  TIR staff are busy!

There has to be a way that we can get EPAMDs classified sooner, without having to pay a high-level lobbyist.  There is:  we get loud, and get people talking.

We have started a petition.

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Segway Tours in Point Pleasant Park?

Well, our final proposal for a 2012 Segway Guided Tour pilot project in Point Pleasant Park is about to be submitted to Ken Reashor, HRM Director of Transportation & Public Works.  After 3 months of effort and lobbying, this is it…

Segway Nova Scotia has put over 1000 people (lots of smiles!) on Segway PTs since we opened in February, and many people have said they think a tour in Point Pleasant Park would be awesome.

Wouldn’t it be great, if we were able to offer tours during Tall Ships Week!!

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Segway & Winery Tour

We are pleased to announce Nova Scotia’s first and only Segway/Winery Tour!
Located near Wolfville, and overlooking the beautiful Minas Basin, Muir Murray Estate Winery is host to this unique and fun experience.

Your guided tour will start with a glide along the beautiful, scenic, historic dykes of the Minas Basin, home to the highest tides in the World. Then we will glide to Evangeline Beach, where we will stop for a short break, while you take in the view of Cape Blomidon, breathe the fresh air, and learn about the history and ecosystems of the surrounding area.

We will then glide back along the dykes to the Winery, where you will have a guided tour of the vineyard, have some refreshments, and learn about winemaking in the Annapolis Valley. You will then be taken to the beautiful tasting room to sample the fabulous wines produced at this winery.

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Hello world!

Segway Nova Scotia officially opened on January 16, 2012.
We are the first and only Segway-authorized Dealer and Segway Experience Centre in Nova Scotia.
Owned and operated by Romi Foley & Max Rastelli, we look forward to introducing Nova Scotia to The Segway Experience.

Get ready to smile…

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