Safety key for PMD-sharing services

We thank Mr Lim Tong Wah and Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan for their letters (Try out e-scooter sharing in confined environment first, and Don't focus last-mile journeys on e-scooter, bike sharing; both published on Nov 1).

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) fully agrees on the need for personal mobility device (PMD) sharing services to be conducted responsibly and without compromising public safety.

The regulatory framework for PMD-sharing services will take into account recent experiences from licensing the bicycle-sharing operators. In doing so, LTA is looking into ways to prevent indiscriminate parking and the abandonment of shared PMDs, as well as important issues which are unique to the PMD-sharing industry, such as fire risks.

PMD-sharing operators are currently not permitted to operate on public land. The only exceptions are within specific areas such as one-north, where some operators have existing agreements with the landlord which were signed before LTA's licensing regime was introduced.

When licence applications begin next year, operators will be allowed to apply for sandbox licences for small-scale operations. This is more limited than the regulatory regime for bicycle-sharing operators, who may be granted full licences to operate large fleets.

In assessing licence applications, LTA will take into account the operators' ability to operate a PMD-sharing service responsibly. This includes how the operators will track the locations of their PMDs, manage indiscriminate parking and ensure their e-scooters are parked at designated parking locations.

We will also work closely with the operators to educate users on safe and responsible riding. Such efforts will complement LTA's broad-based measures to improve active mobility safety, including the e-scooter registration regime, which will be introduced early next year, and stricter penalties for errant users.

Other measures include providing more dedicated cycling paths, widening of footpaths at locations with high pedestrian and cyclist volume and introducing the UL 2272 standard to reduce fire risks of motorised PMDs.

Ultimately, PMDs offer a convenient mode of commuting around Singapore when used safely and responsibly. An active mobility lifestyle is integral to our transport network and provides us with car-lite alternatives, especially for short-distance trips.

Andrew Cheah

Chief, Active Mobility

Land Transport Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2018, with the headline 'Safety key for PMD-sharing services'. Print Edition | Subscribe