Calif. CU Offers Special Loan For Segways

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Segway Human Transporters have not yet lived up to their promise of revolutionizing travel, but Partners Federal Credit Union is trying to do its part to get the employees it serves at the Disneyland Resort to jump on the (two-wheeled) bandwagon.

The Segway HT, as the company calls it, is the brainchild of noted inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen. The electric-powered, self-balancing, personal mobility devices can transport a 200-pound person at 10 miles per hour up to 17 miles on a single charge.

The Disneyland Resort owns 17 Segway HTs. Employees use them to travel behind the scenes. In addition, guests at Disneyland Park can ride a Segway at the "Innoventions" exhibit in Tomorrowland.

Andrew Downin, vice president of marketing for Partners FCU, said the credit union is offering members a $200 rebate and a special loan rate of 8.9% on the purchase of a $4,400 transporter.

"We worked with the Walt Disney Company and the producers of the Segway to put together this incentive package," he said. "Many members have expressed interest, but there have not been any takers yet. We're trying to make sure all our members are aware the incentives are available. We really are on the ground level, because I don't think any other credit union is doing something like this for Segways."

Downin said one method Partners FCU used to promote awareness of the transporters was the "Segway Days" event it hosted in November. The Disneyland Resort loaned a Segway to the credit union, and members were allowed to take guided rides in the parking lot.

Partners FCU researched its membership last fall and discovered the highest concentration of employees was within two to three miles of the resort. "For some cast members [the Disney term for its employees], the resort is their world, and they want to live as close as possible," explained Downin. "With that many people living in close proximity, we think Segways will be very popular. But, we are prepared for a slow ramp-up, because many people still do not know what a Segway is."

Cast members can earn a $1 per day incentive under the company's environmental program if they get to work by a means other than a single-occupant, conventional automobile. The options include walking, riding a bicycle, taking a bus, carpooling or using a clean-fuel automobile. Riding a Segway to the resort is the newest addition to the list.

"At a dollar a day, it will pay for itself in 12 years," Downin joked.

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