Getting around Microsoft campus — Is it time for an electric scooter?


I’ve worked here at Microsoft now for almost 12 years. It’s crazy when I think about it. 12 years is a long time. That’s the same amount of time it took to get from 1st grade thru senior year. Yikes!


When I started at Microsoft in 1995, the campus was pretty small compared to now. OK… it wasn’t really small, but all the buildings were within a reasonable walking distance of each other.


In 1995, I was in building 1, and most of my meetings were in building 1. Sometimes, I had to walk over to building 4 past “Lake Bill” where the ducks swam around (I saw many seasons go by in between building 1, 2, 3, and 4, and saw several generations of the same family of ducks being born).


Now, 12 years later, the Microsoft campus is huge. It sprawls all over the place. There’s the same “block” of buildings that were here in 1995, but now there’s also Red West campus, there are buildings scattered along NE 40th, and then two different sets of buildings off of NE 148th.


My meetings are no longer confined to a 500′ walk. Now, it’s not uncommon that I have a meeting in building 116, then 113, and then back in building 17, and then over to building 50. All back to back in a 4 hour time frame.


Many times during the 12 years of campus expansion if I did have to go very far, I would just call the campus shuttle for a pick up outside my building, go outside, hop on the shuttle, and ride to my destination. It was fast, easy, and efficient. Fast forward to now, though, and it’s no longer a taxi like service. It’s more like a bus line with set times and stops. Red goes counter clockwise around “campus”. Blue goes clockwise. It takes a degree in rocket science to actually figure out when you can catch the next bus to get to the right destination. OK, maybe not rocket science, but it’s a little more complicated now.


For the past couple years, I’ve been avoiding the shuttle and driving my own car from building to building. That worked for a while, but now, with campus crowding, it takes forever to find a parking place in the destination building. It’s no longer faster to drive than to use the shuttle.


So … I had an idea. Maybe it’s time to purchase my own low cost transportation option. I’ve been looking around, and a Segway looks awfully promising. But … $5k to get to meetings faster. I don’t think I’ll be buying one of those any time soon.


But … What about an electric scooter? That might be fun. I can get one for between $100 and $1000 depending on how extravagant I want to get. Searching on the net tonight, it appears that a very nice scooter would be the Go-Ped ESR 750 Sport. It’s about $599 with free shipping. That’s only 10% the cost of a Segway, it’s 30% faster, and I can fold it up and put it in my trunk if I want.


Go-Ped ESR 750 Sport Electric Scooter


What do you think? Any electric scooter riders out there with an opinion they’d like to share with me?


Comments (7)

  1. caleteeter@hotmail.com says:

    Want to get noticed while going to meetings.  Check these out.

    http://www.minipocketrockets.com/mx3-pocketbike/

    I had one of these a while back, they are great.

    Cale

  2. robch says:

    Thanks Cale. That does look pretty cool. Although, I bet people would frown on me driving a gas powered bike inside the building! 😎

  3. JamesCurran says:

    I have one similar to the one you picture (though much cheaper .. $120).  It would function well in the enviroment you describe.  I’ve riden it around my suburban neighborhood a bit, and once on the streets of NYC.

    It’s a bit faster than walking, but slower than a bicycle.  Also, mine at least, weighs a TON — it makes carrying it up strairs a bit tricky.

  4. Gerard van der Land says:

    Almost a year ago I was on the Redmond campus for a week (staying at the Residence Inn next to the "Liberty" building) and always called a shuttle to travel from one building to another. Are you saying that this excellent sevice is no longer available now?

  5. robch says:

    Gerard van der Land, I bet that the service for partners hasn’t changed. In fact, the change for employees actually happened several years ago. So, next time you’re up here on the Redmond campus, you’ll likely still see the good service you experienced before.

  6. Gerard van der Land says:

    I wasn’t there as a partner at the time, and the shuttle service was for employees only, although most drivers hardly seemed to check badges. I was very impressed with how smooth and efficient it was run, so what you’re describing doesn’t match my experience at all. Maybe you should check again (msweb or your buildings’ reception) wether the service in fact still exists? :-) Maybe it’s only that you cannot call a shuttle when travelling between buildings that are both on the red/blue line?

  7. I posted about a month ago that I was considering purchasing an electric scooter. I did, in fact, end