3,550 applications received for e-scooter trade-in grant from food delivery riders since footpath ban

Twenty per cent of the 3,550 applicants for the e-scooter trade-in grant have "transited to alternative devices", said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min. (Yahoo News Singapore file photos)

SINGAPORE — The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has received 3,550 applications for its e-scooter trade-in grant for food delivery riders since the devices were banned from footpaths here in November last year.

“Twenty per cent of these applicants have transited to alternative devices,” said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min, adding that the LTA “approved all applications after accounting for duplicates”.

Dr Lam shared the figures in Parliament on Monday (6 January), while responding to questions from several Members of Parliament regarding the measures to help food delivery riders who have been affected by the ban.

Acknowledging that the ban had an “immediate impact on the livelihoods of some riders”, he noted that there were about 6,120 food delivery riders who made at least one delivery in the 30-day period prior to the ban – making them eligible for the grant. Of this group, about 2,100 riders carried out four deliveries or more per day.

Among the grant applicants, he said 74 per cent – or about 2,600 – had opted to switch to e-bikes, while 25 per cent chose bicycles and fewer than 1 per cent picked personal mobility aids.

“To facilitate the transition, food delivery companies have offered free bicycle rentals to the riders who are waiting for their new devices,” said Dr Lam, adding that other partners have also offered support to riders.

He cited the examples of Workforce Singapore and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute, which have provided career placement support for food delivery riders looking to switch jobs. Additionally, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and People’s Association have offered temporary financial assistance to affected riders in need.

NTUC has also launched a fully subsidised safe riding programme for food delivery riders making the transition to power assisted bicycles (PABs).

“As of end-December 2019, 130 riders have completed the NTUC programme. This is useful as on-road accidents involving PABs are not uncommon,” said Dr Lam, noting that there were 21 accidents involving such devices from January to November last year.

He added that the Traffic Police are also working on greater public education and awareness efforts.

Regulating use of PABs

Dr Lam said on Monday that the regulatory regime for PABs would also be updated. This will include having PAB riders to comply with road traffic regulations – including the mandatory use of helmets; having PABs registered; and allowing for only LTA-approved PABs to be used here.

“These LTA-approved models are pedal-assisted PABs and without throttles, where gradual motor assistance is provided as the user pedals, but is gradually reduced and cut off as the PAB reaches a speed of 25kmh,” said Dr Lam.

“In addition, they have to comply with the EN15194 device safety standard for electrical and fire safety.”

Since November last year, 70 non-compliant PABs have been seized, with the offenders facing a maximum fine of $5,000 along with possible jail terms of up to three months.

“I will shortly introduce a Bill to amend the Active Mobility Act to strengthen the regulatory regime. This includes setting minimum riding ages, requiring third-party liability insurance coverage, and introducing mandatory theory tests,” said Dr Lam.

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E-scooters banned from Singapore footpaths from 5 November