Foodpanda offering e-bikes to its e-scooter riders who qualify under new scheme

A Foodpanda delivery rider on an e-scooter seen along Jurong East Street 21 on 5 November 2019. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — Under a newly announced scheme, qualified Foodpanda food delivery riders will be offered free power-assisted bicycles, also known as e-bikes, when they trade in their devices.

The move is part of the broader $7 million grant that was announced last week to help food delivery riders using e-scooters transition to other devices after they were banned from footpaths earlier this month.

Foodpanda riders who completed 100 or more food delivery hours from 9 October to 7 November can qualify for a free e-bike – a Zebra Model 3 by Mongol Trading – from the company, said Foodpanda on Thursday (14 November).

“Due to the unforeseen surge in e-bicycle orders, the e-bicycles we’ve purchased...are set to arrive by 31 December,” it added. Those eligible for the scheme will be notified via SMS by Friday will have to indicate their interest in the scheme before 22 December.

A cross-check will also be done with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to ensure that each rider only takes up an initiative from just one food delivery company.

The trade-in scheme will kick off on Friday and riders can trade in their e-scooters at Foodpanda’s North Rider Hub in Woodlands. Riders will be able to access the hub seven days a week and a fleet manager will also be on duty to provide any assistance to them, said a spokesperson.

The first batch will receive their e-bikes at the end of December and the second batch will receive it at the end of January.

Qualified riders who wish to purchase a vehicle on their own will be entitled to claims of up to $600 for bicycles and up to $1,000 for e-bicycles.

When asked by Yahoo News Singapore, a spokesperson for Foodpanda declined to reveal the number of riders who would qualify for the free e-bike.

Other ways of qualifying

Separately, Foodpanda riders who have completed fewer than 100 food delivery hours within the same period – with at least one order delivered – can still qualify for a claim provided they meet Foodpanda’s criteria.

They will first have to first purchase their own bicycle or e-scooter and then complete 100 orders by 31 December. This will entitle them to 50 per cent of their new vehicle’s cost. The second half of the claim can be made if they then complete another 100 orders by 31 January 2020.

In order to qualify for the claims, none of these orders can be done using an e-scooter.

“In the transition period, Foodpanda will also be offering free bicycle rentals from SG Bikes, along with free helmets and discounts with Foodpanda partners, for affected riders through 31 December,” said a company spokesperson.

The partners in question include Minimotors, Mobot, WarehouseSG, and New Era Cycle.

Out of Foodpanda’s over 8,000 food delivery riders, only about 12 per cent – about 960 – use e-scooters. This represents about 14 per cent of the 7,000 food delivery riders here who use e-scooters for their work.

The Foodpanda spokesperson noted that the company not experienced any delay in delivery times since the e-scooter footpath ban was implemented on 5 November, and that its average delivery time also remains at 25 minutes or under.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Foodpanda)

Competitors’ initiatives

Competitor GrabFood earlier announced details of their initiative on Tuesday. Similarly, the application process for Grab’s food delivery riders to switch their e-scooters to other transport devices will start on Friday.

The company has secured for its riders preferred purchase and rental rates for e-bikes and bicycles with five partners: SGBike, WarehouseSG, My Bike Shop, Hello Bicycle and Cannasia. It has also secured preferred leasing rates for motorcycles for its riders through partners Pyro Leasing and GP Motoring.

A Deliveroo spokesperson on Tuesday said that the company is fully committed to supporting their riders during the transition period.

“The ongoing discussions with the LTA as well as bike-sharing companies signify a collective effort to support our riders and their needs moving forward. We are currently working closely with all parties towards creating a partnership plan for our riders,” said the spokesperson.

The $7 million e-scooter trade-in grant, unveiled by the Ministry of Transport last Friday, would be equally borne by the LTA and the three major food delivery players.

The e-scooter ban triggered a wave of reactions in Singapore including from netizens, food delivery riders, food delivery companies, personal mobility device retailers and sharing operators. 

Food delivery riders who use e-scooters have expressed concerns about the threat to their livelihood due to the ban.

A number of them have met their Members of Parliament, including Lam, to discuss the issue.

During recent heated Meet-the-People sessions, several called on the authorities to allow them to use footpaths until the end of this year.

To allow e-scooter users to adjust to the ban, an “advisory period” would be implemented until the end of the year.  As of 9am on Sunday, LTA has issued more than 760 warnings to errant riders.

From 1 January, there will be strict enforcement of the ban, with those caught flouting it liable to a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to three month’s jail.

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