Preamble: Intermittently, I will be introducing some columns which introduce some seemingly outlandish concepts. The purpose is a bit of humor, but also to provoke some thought. Enjoy.
A previous article, “A Better Transportation Option Than A Tesla
In response to this column, many readers have responded with the alternative of a human powered last mile solution. The most prolific form of this already exists — walking. In terms of mechanization, various urban bike sharing or scooter solutions are also popular. These solutions are useful, but there are limitations. Children, elderly, and disabled have difficulty with accessing these solutions. Also, from the point-of-view of a passenger, weather can be an issue, and perhaps one does not want to be perspiring in nice clothes. Thus, it appears that it may make sense to split the power source and the passenger for an effective solution. Of course, solutions like these already exist in Asia with human powered rickshaws (pedestrian or bicycle enabled).
The conventional wisdom is that something like a human powered rickshaw would never work in the west. There is the cost of labor and of course, just the general social engagement dynamics. One would certainly believe this prevailing point-of-view until one sees the action in the picture below outside various CrossFit gyms throughout the USA.
The objective of this activity is exercise, but the thought which enters one’s mind is : Couldn’t one connect these two worlds ? Provide transportation, get exercise, and get paid for it ? Could this possibly work ?
The fundamental problem is connecting a population of people looking for rides with a population willing to provide them as part of their exercise regimen. Sounds like an application for a ride-hailing service such as Uber. Interestingly and somewhat surprisingly, Uber already supports rickshaws in India and Pakistan. Done on the demand front !
Now, we just need the supply side of the equation and the obvious answer is CrossFit. Crossfit can extend their equipment stack with stylish rickshaw solutions and CrossFit members can be the natural initial base of suppliers. The Uber Peak demand pricing model is the perfect inducement to get out off the couch and get some exercise. Overall, the model provides sustainable last mile transportation for the passenger and health benefits for the “power source.” What is not to like ?
Perhaps Uber should just acquire CrossFit and get the whole process started.
Note: For those who enjoy articles with a bit of humor, there are a few more which might be of interest:
Nick Trahair, CLM,CHA serves as General Manager of the GrandStay Hotel & Suites of Traverse City, MI.
Prior to joining the staff at the GrandStay, he served as the Regional Operations Manager for a large hospitality management company based in the Midwest and also has worked in the food and beverage management field.