Young man riding an electric scooter in Singapore with an amazing view on the city (Photo by Ingus Kruklitis from Shutterstock.com).

LTA to open licence applications for bicycle-sharing and motorised Personal Mobility Device (PMD)-sharing services on 4 January

Licence applications for bicycle-sharing and motorised Personal Mobility Device (PMD)-sharing services will be opened on 4 January 2019.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) stated that applications are to be submitted via LTA’s website by the closing date of 11 February 2019.

In this application cycle, LTA stressed that it will accept applications for sandbox licences for motorised PMD-sharing services. Operators that are awarded sandbox licences will have small fleet sizes so that LTA can assess their operations and ability to comply with regulatory requirements, before being considered for full licences for large-scale operations.

It will also accept applications for full licences and sandbox licences for bicycle-sharing services. Existing bicycle-sharing licensees may also apply to increase their fleet sizes or to graduate from a sandbox licence to a full licence.

The authority stated that the evaluation criteria will include:

  • Applicants’ plans to manage indiscriminate parking, including user education on proper parking behaviour.
  • Compliance with active mobility device criteria[3] and motorised PMD fire safety requirements.
  • Ability to maintain a healthy fleet utilisation rate, including overall demand for device-sharing services and the availability of parking spaces.
  • Applicants’ track record, including any past records of regulatory contraventions, such as illegal deployment of shared PMDs in public places without a licence.

Under the licensing framework, operators who have been granted sandbox licences and full licences for both motorised PMD and bicycle-sharing services will be allowed to operate in public spaces for one year and two years respectively.

LTA said that it will impose conditions on the maximum fleet size that each licensee is allowed to deploy.

As with the first cycle of application, LTA will continue to adopt a conservative approach in determining the fleet sizes. Sandbox licensees who are able to manage indiscriminate parking well, comply with all licence requirements and ensure good utilisation of their fleet will have the opportunity to obtain a full licence and grow their fleets over time.

LTA noted that licensees must comply with the conditions of their licence and standards of performance.

LTA will take regulatory action against licensees for any breaches. This includes imposing financial penalties of up to $100,000 for each instance of non-compliance, reducing their fleet size, suspending or cancelling the licence before the licence term ends. As part of the licensing framework, all licensees are required to provide any necessary data to LTA to facilitate enforcement and planning of active mobility infrastructure.

As announced on 27 December 2018, LTA will be implementing a quick response (QR) code parking system on 14 January 2019 to guide users to park at proper designated parking areas. Licensees will be required to integrate the QR code parking system in their mobile applications for users who are required to scan the unique QR code as proof of proper parking before they can end their trip. Licensees will charge users an additional fee of $5 should they fail to do so.

LTA will also impose new safety requirements for motorised PMD-sharing licensees which requires them to ensure that charging of motorised PMDs is carried out by suitable personnel in proper environments.

Motorised PMDs used for PMD sharing services must also be certified to the UL2272 standard to reduce risk of fires. In addition, licensees will also be required to procure and maintain insurance to cover any third-party liability for death or injuries arising from the use of their motorised PMDs.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) had announced on September last year that it has accepted all of the following recommendation submitted by the Active Mobility Advisory Panel for a safer path and will implement them in early-2019.

There are four recommendations to be applied, which are the reducing of speed limit on footpaths for personal mobility device users and cyclists from 15 km/h to 10 km/h, speed limit on motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters, mandatory helmets while on road, and “stop and look” out for vehicles at road crossings, before resuming their journeys.

The urge to step up the regulations came from Singaporeans as the incident involving the PMD has been outrageous.

In January last year, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament that there were 30 e-scooter accidents involving pedestrians on footpaths and walkways between January and September 2017.

He also said that the LTA had issued more than 1,700 advisories for unsafe riding behaviour that year.

Medias also reported various incident involving PMDs.

In April alone last year, there were four reported incident invloving PMDs.

On 16 April, an 86-year-old e-scooter rider was taken to the hospital after an accident with a bus in Yishun.

A 65-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries after a collision with an e-scooter at her HDB block when she was on her way to pick up her granddaughter at the lift lobby of Block 538 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 on 17 April.

An 11-year-old girl had to have her jaw and gums realigned, after an e-scooter crashed into her along Pasir Ris Drive 1 on 12 April.

On the same day, a six-year-old boy was injured after an e-scooter rider crashed into him near Punggol Park.

In September last year, a chef passed away after falling off his e-scooter.

Despite the fact that the regulations have been stepped up, some Singaporeans expressed their skepticism towards the regulations.

Jack Lim wrote, “Mobile death and injury coming to your loved ones.”

Shu Ra Aaron wrote, “Think about your family and loved ones before riding on PMD. You could be the next road accident victim.”

PL Chan wrote, “Trains will be packed with PMDs.”