Don't focus last-mile journeys on e-scooter, bike sharing

I read with dismay that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) intends to grant a licence to a local start-up, Beam, to operate an e-scooter sharing service (LTA: Earliest Beam can launch e-scooter sharing is next year; Oct 25).

There are compelling reasons why LTA should not allow e-scooter sharing services.

First, considerable public funds, in terms of infrastructure and manpower, have already been provided for bike-sharing.

To allow e-scooter sharing services will only mean more public funds will have to be made available to accommodate such services, such as setting aside public places for parking, enforcement against indiscriminate parking and dumping of e-scooters.

More enforcement officers will be required to police errant riding. This will definitely strain LTA's manpower and public resources even more.

Second, personal and social costs will increase considerably with more accidents caused by irresponsible e-scooter riders.

Already this year, we have seen more accidents involving e-scooters than in past years. And most of the victims are the elderly and young children.

More recently, there has been a spate of fires caused by the charging of batteries of e-scooters, resulting in damage to property and personal injuries.

Third, "the last mile" approach to encouraging greater use of public transportation should not be tilted heavily towards bike and e-scooter sharing.

Most e-scooter riders, I observe, are youngsters. With our excellent public transport network, bus stops and MRT stations are all not more than 10 minutes' walk for most households.

The able-bodied should walk to take a bus or the MRT as this is very good exercise.

LTA should put a stop to this e-scooter sharing plan.

Andrew Seow Chwee Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2018, with the headline 'Don't focus last-mile journeys on e-scooter, bike sharing'. Subscribe