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Chauffeurs, other apps cash in on post-Pokemon economy

Sarah Boutwell plays the augmented-reality smartphone game Pokémon Go at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, Monday July 11, 2016. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Sarah Boutwell plays the augmented-reality smartphone game Pokémon Go at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, Monday July 11, 2016. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The ongoing, free-form experiment in human nature and social behavior that is the Pokemon Go mobile game appears to be spawning new entrepreneurial efforts.

An enterprising Hampden resident claims to be selling his services on Craigslist as a Pokemon Go chauffeur, offering to drive players around the city for one hour at a time to catch the digital creatures — saving them the hassle of walking, despite the fact that increased outdoor exercise seems to be one of the games great strengths.

He’s asking $25 per trip, according to his ad.

The driver even offers to drive at a speed slow enough for players to reap the in-game benefits of additional movement.

For those who like playing the game but are worried about trying to walk while staring at their phones, the Vancouver-based running-navigation app RunGo — which provides running routes with “voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation” — is offering special routes that direct users through areas with a high Pokemon density.

A spokeswoman for the app wrote in an email that when combined with the game, RunGo allows players to safely take their eyes off the their phones — and to avoid the embarrassment of accidentally falling into lakes or running into walls.

Of course, less honorable efforts to cash in on the phenomenon continue to be reported: Baltimore County police report that three people were robbed at gunpoint while playing the game in Parkville July 7, and three students the University of Maryland, College Park were reportedly robbed while playing the game on campus Tuesday night.

Be careful out there.

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