Forum: Food delivery firms should employ only licensed motorcyclists

Food Panda and Grab delivery riders waiting at a traffic light along South Buona Vista Road on Oct 15, 2019.
Food Panda and Grab delivery riders waiting at a traffic light along South Buona Vista Road on Oct 15, 2019.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Long before the three major food delivery firms - GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo - entered the scene, fast-food outlets such as McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut were already delivering food around the island.

However, the big difference is that the fast-food chains employed only licensed motorcyclists who had taken a Highway Code test and riding test, and had third-party insurance coverage, before they were allowed on the roads.

This is not so in the case of food delivery firms as a small percentage of their employees use personal mobility devices (PMDs) to make their rounds. As they are prohibited from using the main road, they use footpaths and five-foot ways.

A few accidents have already happened, with some proving fatal. As the PMDs involved were not insured, victims have had to bear the cost of medical bills.

Deliveroo said riders using PMDs and power-assisted bicycles make up 5 per cent of its overall fleet of 6,000 here.

Foodpanda Singapore managing director Luc Andreani said about 30 per cent of its 7,000 or so riders use PMDs or bicycles, but he does not foresee a significant impact from new regulations (Will a PMD ban hurt food delivery firms?, Oct 13).

That being the case, would it not be wise for the Land Transport Authority to mandate that all delivery firms should employ only qualified Class 2 riders?

Neo Poh Goon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2019, with the headline 'Food delivery firms should employ only licensed motorcyclists'. Print Edition | Subscribe