Sometimes we have to try things for ourselves in order to understand the possibilities they offer.
This was the case for Lynne Scullard, the founder of Scully Scooters in Johannesburg. Scully first bought herself a scooter in 2011. When she stopped to fill up and paid only 50 rand, she had a realization. Transport costs in South Africa are often disproportionately high compared to the wages of the majority. Could scooters be a method of cheap transport for the masses?
Along with the social and economic freedom that Scully experienced following her decision, this reflection led to the creation of Scully Scooters, which aims to “Get South Africa Moving”. As well as tackling the lack of transport options for poorer communities, Scully Scooters seeks to alleviate congestion and pollution and to reduce traffic accidents.
The main issue, Scully soon realized, is that people are not equipped and trained to ride scooters on busy streets. Simply encouraging people to buy scooters would do more harm than good.
Scully therefore created a variety of training schools and connections with business. The “Get South Africa” moving initiative includes safety and mobility behavior training, a helmet, gloves, reflective jacket, a learner’s license booking, insurance and a SCOOTER with a 2 year warranty and 1 year road side assist.
The “Get Wheels, Get Work” program, meanwhile, helps people to translate road safety skills into employment. Along with driving training, the two-day program offers guidance on customer service and financial management. Certain variants of the program teach students about interviewing techniques and even start-up skills.
The program is designed to take individuals without jobs or skills and help them to positively participate in South Africa’s economic future.
Many of the journeys made by car, in South Africa and elsewhere, are made by individuals. When passenger seats stay empty, congestion and pollution increase. Scooters, although they run on fossil fuels, are a step in the right direction, as they take up less space and use far less fuel.
Scully Scooters thus is the kind of initiative that promotes sustainable urban transport while developing social and economic equality. Lynne Scullard has thought hard about how to redress the economic imbalance in South Africa, and has made a positive contribution. In so doing, she has also helped to make transport more affordable and to reduce the dependence on private automobiles.
We hope that the EcoMobility Festival 2015 will inspire more entrepreneurs like Lynne Scullard, and that Johannesburg residents will follow her lead on sustainable transport and social equality!