Forum: PMDs better than motorbikes for food delivery

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

A number of government ministries would have to work together for the call by Mr Neo Poh Goon to see the light of day (Food delivery firms should employ only licensed motorcyclists, Oct 16).

Food delivery is not the best-paying career, and the operatives count their pennies. The sums make them prefer personal mobility devices (PMDs) to motorcycles.

PMDs can be parked freely, and are often left on the pavement without penalty. But a motorcycle parked in the same manner will run afoul of the law and incur a hefty fine.

Currently, existing buildings are not required to allocate motorcycle parking spaces. And judging by the "no motorcycles allowed" signs at the carpark entrances of major buildings, there are not many places where motorbikes can be parked.

Carpark managers have cited security among the reasons for not allowing motorcycles.

At an annual general meeting of the holding company of a string of shopping malls, I reminded its chairman that motorcyclists are shoppers too.

Within weeks, motorcycle spaces were marked out in otherwise-unused corners of the malls' carparks.

In carparks that allow motorcycle entry, motorcyclists have to pay 60 cents to $1.60 each time they go in. That adds up when there are many deliveries to do each day.

Food delivery is not the best-paying career, and the operatives count their pennies. The sums make them prefer PMDs to motorcycles.

The average price of a motorcycle (including the certificate of entitlement) is about 10 times that of a PMD. Moreover, petrol costs come out of motorcyclists' pockets.

A PMD just needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet, including at the employer's premises.

The hope that delivery companies will employ only licensed motorcyclists, so as to provide the public with protection through third-party insurance coverage, will remain wishful thinking unless various regulations governing road traffic, labour and building control are changed.

Lee Chiu San

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'PMDs better than motorbikes for food delivery'. Print Edition | Subscribe