Unique City Tours
by John Davis
Touring a big city can be fun, but with traffic always a problem, it can also be frustrating. Your tour bus may spend more time idling at stop lights, and wasting fuel, than you do seeing the sights. So what’s a visitor to do? Well, that’s the question we put to our FYI reporter Yolanda Vazquez, and she has come back with some creative ways to see and enjoy the urban landscape.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Double-decker tour buses. They rule the road in New York City. But this open-top experience isn’t the only way to travel around town... Companies across the country have come up with clever ways to attract sightseeing tourists who are looking for something different when they splash into their favorite city.
STEPHEN CHESTER: We think ATL Cruzers is the most unique and fun way to experience any city but more specifically Atlanta, Georgia.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Co-owner Stephen Chester created his electric car tour in 2010 to give visitors a panoramic view of Atlanta’s must-see sights
STEPHEN CHESTER: Historic Ebenezer to your right...
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: While riding in an open-air, eco-friendly vehicle. Chester says the six-seat, battery-electric gem is ideal for his 15-mile expert-guided tour.
STEPHEN CHESTER: Inside this venue, you will have seen the likes of people like Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin...
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: The low-speed designation means it never goes above 25 miles per hour and the e6 has a driving range of up to 40 miles on a full charge.
STEPHEN CHESTER: So we typically do 1 hour, 1:15 minute tour, come back and recharge and we’re able to do 3-4 tours a day with one vehicle cycle time
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: The clean, green transportation has zero tailpipe emissions and with positive feedback from consumers on travel websites—Chester might expand his “electric” operation in the future.
STEPHEN CHESTER: So really trying to focus on Atlanta, and as opportunities present themselves-maybe identify other cities this concept would be able to flourish in.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Another city with a flourishing sightseeing tour business is Washington D.C. For the past seven years, Capital Segway has offered visitors and residents alike a two-wheeled tour of the city’s most famous landmarks.
STEVEN ORR: The White House, Capitol Building, Smithsonian, National Archives, Ford's Theater, FBI Building, and there's roughly 60 or 70 places that you probably didn't even know was there...
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: General Manager Steven Orr says the six and a half mile tour is about two hours long--with riders covering three times as much ground than if they were walking.
AVIS DEVINE: Every time you go to a big city, you see these things go by...
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: First-time user Avis Devine loved the unlimited access through bike paths, walkways and side roads.
AVIS DEVINE: By being this in-between level vehicle…we had access available to us in all 3 manners—which, if you did any of the others at one time, you wouldn't get.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Since safety is a top priority--Capital Segway offers a 10-minute training session and video to help riders become more familiar with their i2 personal transporter... As I discovered, the advanced lean steer technology has made this state-of-the-art Segway easy to maneuver and fairly simple to navigate.
SEAN TAYLOR: It was really easy. It was natural movements, you just lean in direction you want to go and it sends you right there... It's very easy.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: The 115-lb machine will only reach a top speed of 12.5 miles per hour and typically gets about 25 miles on a full charge... So the next time you’re thinking about boarding a big tour bus—look for an eco-friendly or off-the-beaten-path option-that will let you explore the wonders of a city’s most treasured sights--in the most memorable way.