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Pineapple Express: A Fun and Eco-friendly way to Explore Samoa’s Capital

After three years of being isolated from the world, Samoa is experiencing a surge of visitors who are either eager to re-connect with their homeland or experience all that Samoa has to offer for the first time.

As travel resumes in a post-covid world, tourism operators are going above and beyond to provide unforgettable experiences that meet the expectations of travelers.

In Samoa’s capital, a new player has emerged on the scene, offering a unique and innovative way to explore Apia city. This new company promises a fun and efficient way to get around town, adding a fresh perspective to traditional tourism experiences.

Enter Pineapple Express, the first electric scooter rental company located  in the heart of Apia town. Inspired by his experiences riding scooters in Australia, Pineapple Express co-founder, Feliuai Masoe, saw an opportunity to introduce this concept to Samoa, making it the perfect way to discover the beauty of this island paradise.

 “I currently live overseas and these things are not new, they’re everywhere in the city” said Feliuai. “One day, I took my wife out and we went for a scooter ride around town, which is when I got the idea to take the e-scooters to Samoa.”

“The only challenge is the technology is a bit more advanced overseas in terms of payments with a pay-as-you-go method so I had to think of another way that would work with a limited infrastructure in Samoa. The simplest option was adopting the rental car system”

As the company’s finance manager, Feliuai understands it’s important to minimize business expenses and luckily for his latest eco-venture, the perks of having a father with a mechanic background means the e-scooters are easy and more cost-effective than cars to maintain.

But it hasn’t been all smooth riding for Feliuai and his team at Pineapple Express. As the first business of its kind in the country, they faced a steep learning curve. He recalls one of their biggest challenges early on was convincing skeptical people about the benefits of e-scooters

 “The biggest challenge at the start was just trying to explain to people what an e-scooter is. I think it is that fear of the unknown” said Feliuai.

In addition to educating the public about their product, the team also had to navigate the uncharted waters of electric scooter licensing, as there is currently no specific legislation in Samoa. They also struggled with sourcing parts and finding a suitable location for their business.

However, their perseverance paid off and now they’re ready to welcome tourists with open arms especially visitors from cruise ships who often have limited time to spend on the island and can cover more ground around the capital on a scooter.

For Feliuai, starting a business in Samoa has always been a dream, one that he has nurtured since his youth. Growing up in Asau village in the northwest end of Savaii, he was surrounded by the natural beauty and rich culture of Samoa but looking back he realized all the simple things he took for granted.

Having traveled extensively overseas, Feliuai saw firsthand what tourists enjoy and was surprised to discover that they often prefer simplicity over extravagance. With this insight, he set out to create a rental scooter company that offered visitors a chance to experience Samoa’s beauty and culture in an affordable, eco-friendly way.

“I have always wanted to open a business in Samoa, it’s been the goal since I was young.  We grew up in Asau, Savaii but now living overseas, I look back at the small things I didn’t think were that significant but now I see the value and beauty in all the simple things. While travelling overseas, I see what tourists like. I thought they liked expensive things but they prefer simple stuff.”

But what makes this e-scooter rental company stand out from the rest?

According to owner Feliuai, it’s their deep cultural roots. The business has brought together family members, including Feliuai’s father Iutisone Masoe and cousin, Edwin Taotua. For them, the success of their company is about more than just financial gain. It’s about giving back to their community and showcasing the beauty of Samoa to the world.

“Our business is more than just renting out e-scooters,” he explained. “We believe in serving our community and maintaining a respectful relationship with the locals ” said Feliuai. “That’s where my father comes in – he’s an expert at keeping the peace within the villages.”

Iutisone Masoe played a crucial role in formulating the brand identity and concept of Pineapple Express which is deeply ingrained in the culture of hospitality in Samoa. Drawing inspiration from the woven mat and fruit that symbolizes warmth and hospitality in Samoan tradition, Mr Masoe helped create a brand that embodies these values and serves as a welcoming gesture to guests.

“In a traditional Samoan home, the word ‘fala’ can be translated to a mat that is laid on the floor so the guests can sit on as a form of welcoming. We also serve cold and sweet cold drinks that are made of pineapple fruit” explained Mr Masoe. “The goal is not just to provide a rental service, but also to offer refreshments like flavoured shaved ice or ice-cream after a long ride around town, as a way to express the spirit of hospitality that is a part of our Samoan culture.”

Supporting his son’s business venture has been a significant source of pride and joy for Mr Masoe. The company has created jobs and brought new energy to the town.  He’s thrilled to see his son’s idea come to life and despite the occasional complaint, he’s always open to feedback guests and emphasizes that they are committed to creating a harmonious community,.

“As a father, I wholeheartedly support my son, and I truly believe that this level of support has been instrumental in bringing his business idea to life” said Mr Masoe. ” We value our customers’ feedback and advice and see it as an opportunity for growth. All I want is for everyone to work in harmony so that everything runs smoothly.”

Here’s everything you need to know about hiring an e-scooter for your next adventure in Apia city:

  • Location: The main office is located at Savalalo opposite Saint Mary’s Primary School. Scooters are also displayed along the Beach Road close to the Government Building. This location is ideal because of its proximity to Friendship Park that has areas fit for scooters.
  • Opening Hours: e-scooters available for hire Monday through Sunday, Operating hours are: 6:00am to 6:00pm on (Monday to Saturday) 4:00pm to 8:00pm (Sundays)
  • E-scooter Fleet available: As a starter, the company owns ten electric scooters. Each scooter is charged for three to four hours to be fully charged and it can operate for 65 kilometres. But the battery will drain faster if the scooters are going up hills. Also, the scooters can last for three to five hours if it is fully charged.  
  • Cost: Hire a scooter for $1.00 per minute. The minimum time to hire the scooter is 10 minutes.
  • Exploring areas: At the moment, the areas of coverage for the scooters has been specified for the town area for now –  starting from Mulinuu to Taumeasina. The scooters are city scooters not off-road scooters plus they can GPS tracked.  
  • Hiring a scooter: Consumers must bring any form of Government issued Identification. There is also a form or waiver that everyone must sign because it ensures that they are liable to pay for any damages incurred to the scooters. The waiver also includes clauses that highlight that the consumer is responsible if they get injured. There are no monetary bonds required. But if the customers are younger from the ages of 18 and below then the company requires the parents’ ID.
  • Other services: The Company’s location at Savalalo also provides ice-cream, various flavoured shaved ice, cold drinks, and snacks.  

Business website link: www.pineappleexpress.ws

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