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Sunday 22 October 2017

An Post wastes thousands on scooters it never used

Greg Harkin

AN POST spent tens of thousands of euro buying electric scooters that were never used because they were "not practical" for delivering mail.

Eight Italian-made CargoScooters were mothballed before being sold off in an online auction this week.

However, the same scooters are widely used in Europe for delivering mail. Swiss Post has 1,500 of them. Now semi-state company An Post is refusing to say how much was spent on the scooters that were never officially put into use.

Businessman Roger Roulston bought two of them, with the other six going to buyers in the UK and Holland. Mr Roulston, who owns a refrigeration business in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, last night said he was selling them on eBay for €1,500 and "making a few quid on them". He declined to say how much he paid for them from An Post.

Range

"These machines are in excellent condition and have hardly been used. They even come with a spare motor," he said.

"They cost around €10,000 new -- and let's just say that the Irish Government is substantially out of pocket as a result."

The CargoScooter has a range of more than 55 miles and can be recharged in under five hours.

An Post says the vehicles were bought for specialist trials in Dublin but were deemed to be "inappropriate" for use in the capital. One source suggested the scooters had insufficient power to deliver the large weight of mail for the city.

But Mr Roulston said: "I am surprised An Post never got around to using them because they are designed for that job and are hugely popular on the continent for inner-city postal routes."

But they weren't ideal for An Post, insisted a spokesman last night. He refuted claims the scooters cost €10,000 each, and said: "It was considerably less than that. The scooters were purchased in 2004 and 2005 and were disposed of by public auction."

The spokesman said the vehicles went through a series of tests, adding: "Once the pilot/testing phrase was complete the judgment was that they were not suitable for mail deliveries. The testing obviously involved a range of issues from health and safety to actual practical usage."

The Irish rejection of the green delivery mopeds will be a surprise to the postal services of Italy, Spain and Switzerland where they are in service. The CargoScooter was also nominated for a top award at the World Mail Awards.

Irish Independent

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