About 1,000 delivery riders register to give up e-scooters as $7m trade-in scheme kicks off

They are among first sign-ups as $7m scheme to trade in PMDs and buy other devices starts

An e-scooter rider on a pavement in Yishun, on Nov 4, 2019. E-scooters were banned from footpaths in Singapore, on Nov 5, 2019.
An e-scooter rider on a pavement in Yishun, on Nov 4, 2019. E-scooters were banned from footpaths in Singapore, on Nov 5, 2019. ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI

About 1,000 food delivery riders registered to give up their e-scooters yesterday, following the ban on the devices from public footpaths.

They are looking to take advantage of a $7 million scheme co-funded by the Government and food delivery companies, in which they can trade in their existing e-scooters for a subsidy to buy other mobility devices.

These alternatives include electric bicycles - which can be used on roads - and regular bicycles - which can be used on roads and public footpaths.

The majority of the 7,000 e-scooter food delivery riders here are with Grab, which said that more than 20 per cent of its eligible affected riders have signed up to make the switch.

Foodpanda, the second largest player here with about 960 e-scooter riders, also said a third of them have filled in the online form.

Deliveroo, the least affected among the three, declined to give figures but confirmed that it has received applications.

The scheme, which started yesterday and will last till Dec 31, is part of the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) efforts to ease the transition for food delivery riders adversely affected by the overnight ban announced on Nov 5.

The ban effectively reduced e-scooter usage from 5,500km of footpaths islandwide to 440km of cycling paths.

Up to $1,000 will be given to those making the switch to e-bikes or personal mobility aids like mobility scooters, while up to $600 will be available to those exchanging their e-scooters for bicycles.

  • 7,000 

    Number of e-scooter food delivery riders affected by the ban, which effectively reduced e-scooter usage from 5,500km of footpaths islandwide to 440km of cycling paths.

Yesterday, the three major food delivery companies put up details of the trade-in on their websites.

While online applications opened yesterday, it is likely that riders will have their e-scooters replaced only in four to five days' time as the forms need vetting by the LTA and the food delivery companies to prevent duplicates.

There will likely be a further delay for riders looking to replace their e-scooters with e-bikes, however, as retailers said new units are expected to come in only after next month.

 
 
 
 

Foodpanda said it has already bought e-bikes for its e-scooter riders who have worked 100 hours or more from Oct 9 to Nov 7, but these are expected to arrive only around Dec 31 "due to the unforeseen surge in e-bicycle orders".

Meanwhile, Foodpanda and Grab riders can rent a bicycle with SGBikes for free, although riders previously said they could make far fewer deliveries without power-assisted devices.

Grab said it has also secured partnerships with retailers such as WarehouseSG and My Bike Shop so riders can buy or rent bicycles at a discount, subject to availability.

When announcing details of the grant, companies made a distinction between riders who had made deliveries above a certain number before the ban and those who did not.

Grab said it will continue to work with its riders to find more ways to help them with the transition, but cautioned them against buying e-bikes with their own money without first checking their eligibility for the scheme.

ST understands the e-scooters that are handed in will be recycled.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2019, with the headline 'About 1,000 delivery riders register to give up e-scooters'. Subscribe