SINGAPORE - About 2,600 food delivery riders have applied to switch from electric scooters to electric bicycles for their work.
They make up almost three-quarters of the 3,550 people who have successfully applied to tap a $7 million grant to help them give up their e-scooters, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on Monday (Jan 6).
The grant also allows them to switch to two other options: bicycles and personal mobility aids (PMAs) like mobility scooters.
In his reply to Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC), Dr Lam said the remaining one-quarter of the applicants applied to switch to bicycles while fewer than 1 per cent went for PMAs.
The grant was set up in November by the Government and the three major food delivery companies in Singapore - GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo.
It came after an e-scooter ban on footpaths sparked concern among riders that their livelihood would be affected.
On Monday, Dr Lam told the House there are about 6,120 food delivery riders who qualify for the grant, having done at least one delivery in the 30 days before the ban.
Of the 3,550 riders who will receive the grant, only 20 per cent have switched to new devices, with the others waiting to get their devices.
"To facilitate the transition, food delivery companies have offered free bicycle rentals to the riders who are waiting for their new devices," said Dr Lam.
The number of successful applicants means about 40 per cent of eligible riders have yet to apply for the grant.
Foodpanda and Deliveroo riders can no longer apply for the grant, as the deadline for them was the last day of 2019.
But riders from GrabFood, which has the most e-scooter riders working for it, have up to Jan 14 to do so.
Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol) and Nominated MP Dennis Tan asked if additional measures will be taken to ensure safety with the use of e-bikes that most food delivery riders have opted for.
Dr Lam noted that on-road accidents involving e-bikes were not uncommon, with 21 such accidents between January and November last year.
One measure that has been taken to boost safety is a safe riding programme, offered free by the National Trades Union Congress, to help riders transit to e-bikes
A total of 130 riders have completed the programme as of Dec 30, said Dr Lam.
The Land Transport Authority is also working with the Traffic Police to intensify efforts to educate people and raise public awareness, he added.
He also said the authorities have detected 70 cases of non-compliant e-bikes since November last year. Examples of non-compliance include a lack of a safety certification and being over the 20kg weight limit.
These devices will be confiscated and their owners can face a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or jail time of up to three months.