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Innovation & Job News

DeTours opens its fourth season of Philadelphia Segway tours



In July 2010, Rassa Vella, founder of DeTours, returned from a trip to Paris with a new idea for exploring Philadelphia. Vella decided that a Segway -- a two-wheeled standing vehicle common in Europe -- could give tourists a more intimate view of the city compared to a traditional bus or carriage outing. DeTours open its fourth season this month and runs tours through October.

Since launching with just one guide, the company has grown to 13 employees and a full-time operations manager. DeTours has doubled their fleet to 15 vehicles and offer up to five tours per day. Trips cover Philly's murals, South Philly cheesesteak tasting and Center City sights. Stops include the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell, Elfreth's Alley, Franklin Court and the Avenue of the Arts.They also cover contemporary Philly, including the Comcast Center, the Cira Center and urban parks. Longer trips go off-road on the Schuylkill River Trail.

"It's not just Betsy Ross," says Vella. "We integrate the present and the future along with the past. It's who Philadelphia is -- it's immersion."

Vella says the tours have grown increasingly popular for family gatherings and corporate outings. DeTours also serves larger private events and offers on-campus Segway demos at Temple student events. In the coming years, she hopes to open two other offices in the Greater Philadelphia region. 

"You can cover as much ground as you would on a bus, but you're experiencing it from the view of a pedestrian," says Vella. "You’re in the neighborhoods -- you're hearing, seeing and smelling them."

Source: Rassa Vella, DeTours
Writer: Dana Henry
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