Khaw

Ban on use of e-scooters on footpaths a means of “returning footpath safety to pre-PMD days”: Transport Minister

The ban against the use of e-scooters on footpaths is a means of “returning footpath safety to pre-PMD days”, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

In a Facebook post on Fri evening (8 Nov), Khaw said that “Singaporeans have largely welcomed the decision to prohibit e-scooters from footpaths”, particularly in light of the number of accidents traced back to the use of such PMDs on footpaths which led to the ban.

“Let’s go for zero accidents and zero casualty in Singapore: whether roads or public paths,” he urged.

He acknowledged, however, that the ban will have an adverse impact on the livelihood of food delivery riders who rely on e-scooters to assist them in their mobility during deliveries.

“As soon as the decision was taken, we had been in consultation with the food delivery companies: GrabFood, Deliveroo and Foodpanda.

“The prohibition would impact their riders and as responsible employers, they were keen to help them transit, either to alternative modes of mobility or to other jobs,” said Khaw.

Khaw noted that the Land Transport Authority has offered an e-scooter Trade-in Grant (eTG) “to match the companies assistance to their riders who wish to stay on in this job”, which he said has been “well received by” the three companies.

“They will now work out the implementation details including bulk purchase of bicycles and e-bicycles to bring down the cost. The riders can then continue to work in this field,” he added.

In the meantime, Khaw said that the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) “will provide career coaching services to help the other riders who wish to switch to other jobs”.

“Meanwhile, I know fellow MPs will be assisting, through ComCare, those riders who may face temporary financial difficulties,” he assured.

E-scooter Trade-in-Grant among measures to assist food delivery riders affected by footpath use ban

Noting that around 7,000 food delivery riders utilised e-scooters at work alongside the majority who use traditional vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) the same day said that the eTG aims to financially assist said riders in the process of switching to bicycles, Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) or Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs).

“Under this scheme, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will match dollar-for-dollar the food delivery companies’ funding support for their food delivery riders who trade in their existing e-scooters for alternative LTA-approved devices,” said MOT, adding that “each rider will receive an eTG of up to S$1,000 for PABs or S$600 for bicycle”.

“For delivery riders with mobility difficulties who are eligible to use PMAs and wish to continue working for their delivery company, they too will receive an eTG of up to S$1,000.

“The eTG scheme will be administered by the food delivery companies, which are also working with retailers to bulk purchase and bring down costs of these devices,” said MOT.

Delivery riders who work for more than one company will only be eligible for one eTG disbursement, the Ministry added.

Food delivery riders who wish to qualify for the eTG must be existing e-scooter food delivery riders as of Thu (7 Nov), and are required to surrender their e-scooters at disposal points located at Grab, Deliveroo and Foodpanda’s premises.

MOT urged food delivery riders to approach their companies for more details on the grant scheme, which will operate till 31 Dec 2019.

Adapt and Grow initiative to provide employability support for food delivery riders seeking new jobs: MOT

The package, jointly created by MOT and LTA with the three major food delivery companies, will also include a joint effort between NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) with Grab, Deliveroo and Foodpanda’s to provide food delivery riders seeking new jobs with employability support under the Adapt and Grow initiative.

Affected drivers will receive customised information on career events starting from next week.

MOT encouraged the affected food delivery riders to contact WSG directly via hotline at 6883 5885, or to drop in at any of the five WSG’s Careers Connect and NTUC’s e2i centres for immediate assistance.

Food delivery riders seeking further information on the career services and employability initiative may visit WSG’s website and the Adapt and Grow initiative website.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) and ComCare schemes will also be available to provide temporary financial assistance to riders via the nearest Social Service Office or PA Community Club, MOT added.

Commenting on the decision to ban the use of e-scooters on footpaths, MOT said that it was a “difficult” one to make, particularly in the light of food delivery riders’ affected livelihood, and “arose because of many instances of irresponsible riding”.

“Even as the delivery riders switch to other modes of transport, they should be mindful of safety both for themselves and other path and road users.

“They should strictly abide by the safety rules, including speed limits, so as not to cause unnecessary injury,” MOT added.

CNA reported on Wed evening (6 Nov) that around 50 e-scooters riders gathered at a Meet the People session in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s ward Ang Mo Kio to address their grievances regarding the ban, with many of them seen in GrabFood delivery uniforms.

Riders using e-scooter on footpaths will now be subject to S$2,000 fine; bicycles and PMAs not subject to ban: LTA

In a statement on 4 Nov, the LTA said that despite “significant efforts” to regulate the use of such personal mobility devices (PMDs) using laws and to educate the public in using such devices responsibly, “offences relating to errant behaviour and incidents involving e-scooters remained on an upward trend”.

“This has led to much anxiety among pedestrians, particularly more vulnerable groups such as the elderly and young,” said the Authority.

To that end, LTA said that it has “conducted a thorough safety review and will take decisive action to restore safety on footpaths”.

“From 1 January 2020, a zero-tolerance approach will be taken and those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths will face regulatory action.

“Offenders are liable for fines up to $2,000 and/or face imprisonment of up to 3 months, if convicted,” LTA warned.

Bicycles and Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs) such as motorised wheelchairs, however, will not be subject to the footpaths ban, and will also be allowed on all cycling paths and Park Connector Networks, as seen in the table below:

Types of devices allowed on various public paths and roads. Source: LTA

The Authority said that it will provide an advisory period from 5 Nov to 31 Dec this year to allow e-scooter users some time to adjust to the ban.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on Mon that the ban follows France’s move to prohibit the riding of e-scooters on its pavements, following the high number of accidents involving such devices, several of which were fatal. Those found guilty of riding their e-scooters on pavements will now be subject to a €135 fine in France.

Dr Lam said that the Government had expected PMD users to “be gracious and responsible” with “public education” on the responsible use of such devices, despite possible challenges facing the co-sharing of footpaths with pedestrians.

“Unfortunately, this was not so,” he lamented. He stated that “cities have allowed the use of such devices on footpaths” initially “as they are non-pollutive, inexpensive and, if properly used, convenient for short intra-town travels”.