Could the Pogo Stick Be the Next Big Thing in Urban Mobility?

A Swedish company — aptly named Cangoroo — is hoping the idea catches on and plans to launch in San Francisco by fall. But some are calling the spring-loaded sticks a more dangerous version of electric scooters.

by Theresa Braine, New York Daily News / June 3, 2019
Courtesy Cangoroo

(TNS) — Hop to it, San Francisco.

A Swedish start-up named Cangoroo is set to introduce pogo sticks to one of the hilliest cities in the U.S.

San Francisco’s reputation as an innovative metropolis is inspiring a company named after a misspelled marsupial to launch yet another take on traditional walking, as an alternative to electric scooters.

It’s the latest in “micro-mobility,” which is the attempt to create transportation to mass transportation for those who don’t live quite within walking distance of a bus or train stop, according to those supporting “mobility as a service” (MaaS), the latest transport trend.

The idea behind the “first mile last mile” rubric is to encourage those who don’t live near public transport to find ways to use it.

Cangoroo, based in Malmö, Sweden, is “challenging E-scooter sharing companies with a new type of vehicle for urban environments,” the company said in a press release.

Cangoroo plans to launch its app-based pogo stick service this summer in Malmö and Stockholm, and branch out to London and San Francisco by fall.

Many have expressed incredulity, given that jumpers will be competing for scarce sidewalk space with scooters both electric and manual, strollers and actual pedestrians — remember walking?

“For one thing, is pogo stick transportation any faster than just walking?” asked Jalopnik. “It’s a hell of a lot more dangerous, especially on a busy city street. They want you to use these things in the god---n bike lane. I’m sure already disgruntled cyclists will be happy to share the lane with your hippity hoppity jumping.”

Others are outright skeptical.

“Technology startups keep getting more...creative,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “Sometimes it is hard to be sure what is real and what is a parody.”

So numerous were the cynics that Cangoroo CEO Adam Mikkelsen felt compelled to address the issue directly.

“With a lot of initial questions along the line of ‘is this for real?’, we feel the need to underline that Cangoroo is 100% real,” Mikkelsen said in a statement last month. “Our choice of shared pogo sticks as our first product is a planned-out strategy in order to stand out in today’s media landscape and build an engaging brand in the generic ‘last mile transportation’ category.”

Cangoroo’s stated goal is to partner with cities, schools and communities to offer “an alternative, joyful way of getting to wherever life takes you,” its mission statement says. It will be about fitness, health and fun, not just commuting, the company said.

“Our belief is that our service can come to play a central role in changing how people look at sustainable cities and staying healthy,” Cangoroo said. “We aim to be a part of changing our communities for the better and prioritize an open and transparent dialogue with all parties involved in expanding to a new location.”

The logistics of sending people hopping along the bike lanes of a major metropolis could take time to work out.

“We don’t have specific details about this company,” San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose told CBS affiliate KPIX. “But we will review any new transportation service to ensure compliance with existing laws.”

©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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