For those of us who must use public transportation, the closest bus stop or train station is usually quite a distance away. We therefore have to walk most of the time. Some people may decide to get a scooter or a foldable bicycle, but you have to carry it with you on the entire commute to work, which may be rather inconvenient. Can you imagine walking under the hot and humid weather of Malaysia?
What if there was a speedy, non-footwork way for you to reach the nearest public transportation? The answer is, Beam.
What and who is Beam? If you are living in the Klang Valley, you might have seen these purple scooters all around the place. These are electric scooters or e-scooters, owned and managed by Beam, Asia Pacific’s largest shared micromobility company.
How Do I Get Started?
Once the app has been downloaded, you will need a debit or credit card to use the scooters. You can also buy Beam credit using your card. There is no cash payment option available at Beam. An authorisation charge of RM10 will be made, which will be immediately cancelled and returned to you.
Once you are done with all the setup, you can start using the app.
To find a scooter near you, look for the scooter icon in the app. The blue ‘P’ icon is where you should park your scooter. You can’t park the scooter anywhere you like. If you end your trip and park the scooter anywhere other than these Beam parking spots, you may be charged a convenience fee.
Once you have found a scooter that you would like to use, click ‘Start Trip’ to scan the QR code located on the scooter. Beware that only one person can be on the scooter at a time. The rider will be automatically covered for personal accident insurance with every ride, but that insurance will be void if more than one person rides the same scooter at the same time.
Use the ‘Group Ride’ option if someone wants to ride the scooter as well. They don’t have to download the app and you can rent the scooter on their behalf.
There are currently two different Beam scooters out there. The original and upgraded version.
The original Beam e-scooter
The upgraded e-scooter
Functionally, they are still the same. Both have a max speed limit of 25 km/h and 60km range. Although the scooter is capable of travelling far faster, the speed limit was set to comply with the law.
They are equipped with all sorts of technologies to keep the riders safe and make sure they stay within designated areas approved by local councils and regulators for micromobility vehicle use.
But the upgraded scooter comes with a phone and a cup holder, and better suspension, specifically in the front wheel. Beam’s General Manager says it also has bigger tyres, a turning signal, and better brakes. These scooters were made by Segway, they are well-known for their two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter.
The scooter is also equipped with a LED light for low-light conditions and the upgrade gave it a better overall riding experience.
How Does It Feel Riding A Beam?
I was granted the opportunity to test drive the upgraded scooter in Petaling Street, KL.
I’m trying out an e-scooter for the first time, so everything is brand-new to me. However, you shouldn’t have any trouble with it if you know how to ride a bike or a motorcycle.
To get the scooter running, while riding it, you should propel the scooter with one of your legs while gently pushing the accelerator (which is on the right handle) with your thumb.
I was a little nervous when I initially hopped on the scooter. If you are not paying attention or using the brakes, the scooter might accelerate very quickly and you will crash. I had to familiarise myself with the control and learned how to balance myself for a while. It ought to feel like riding a bicycle once you get the hang of it.
The scooter was a little difficult to turn, it has a large turning radius, so most of the time I had to stop and make turns with my leg. But, it was a fun and easy experience on a straight, obstacle-free road.
It was a pleasant experience all around. The scooter is simple to operate and ride. It doesn’t take long to get used to, and within about five minutes, I’m comfortable with it.
But What About The Price?
According to Beam FAQ, they charge RM 0.60 per minute as soon as the ride starts. If you are using Beam in Petaling Jaya, there is an unlock fee of RM2.00 at the start of the ride.
A 33-minute ride costs RM15.30. You probably won’t need much time to walk to the closest bus stop or train station. The cost per day would probably be less than RM15 if you take the scooter for the first and last mile.
So, should you be a Beamer? If daily walking to and from work leaves you feeling exhausted, Beam might be the answer. Not to mention how much time using the scooter would save you and how much pleasure it will be to zoom down the pavements (only do it when there are no people around, okay?).
If you want to learn more about Beam, you can read their FAQ here.