E-scooter firm faces 56 more charges over illegal service

Neuron Mobility chief executive Zachary Wang Zizi represented his company in court yesterday. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW Neuron Mobility e-scooters at Marina Bay Sands in April. The e-scooter sharing company has been charged over the provision of the d
Neuron Mobility e-scooters at Marina Bay Sands in April. The e-scooter sharing company has been charged over the provision of the devices in public places without a licence or exemption.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Neuron Mobility chief executive Zachary Wang Zizi represented his company in court yesterday. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW Neuron Mobility e-scooters at Marina Bay Sands in April. The e-scooter sharing company has been charged over the provision of the d
Neuron Mobility chief executive Zachary Wang Zizi represented his company in court yesterday. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Local e-scooter sharing start-up Neuron Mobility has been slapped with 56 additional charges over the provision of the devices in public places without a licence or exemption.

The company, represented in court yesterday by its chief executive Zachary Wang Zizi, had been charged earlier with two counts of the same offence under the Parking Places Act in February. This brings the number of charges to 58.

Currently, personal mobility device-sharing operators are not allowed to offer the devices for hire in public places without a licence or an exemption approved by the Minister for Transport.

If convicted, the operator may be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to six months. For each day the offence continues after conviction, it can also be fined up to an additional $500 a day or part of a day.

On Feb 28, Neuron Mobility became the second e-scooter sharing firm to be charged with making its devices available for hire in public without a licence or exemption.

As of Feb 25, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has impounded 144 devices from the company.

Telepod was the first to be charged with the same offence on Feb 21. It is facing 25 charges, and almost 70 devices have been impounded by the LTA as of that day.

Both firms have been operating in Singapore since 2017 under an exemption that allowed their devices to be used without a licence within specific areas under an agreement with land owners.

Neuron Mobility and Telepod were among 13 e-scooter sharing firms vying for licences from the LTA allowing each company to run a fleet of up to 500 of the devices.

While the LTA had earlier said it would announce in the second quarter of this year which companies would be granted the licence, this was delayed to the third quarter in the light of safety concerns.

The LTA reminded licence applicants then that operators should refrain from deploying their personal mobility devices (PMDs) on private land if there was a high risk of the devices entering public space.

Meanwhile, e-scooter retailer Samuel Tan Woon Yeow of Synergy Scooters also appeared in court yesterday for riding a PMD along Lim Chu Kang Road towards Jalan Bahar on July 6.

Under the Road Traffic Act, PMDs are not allowed to be used on roads.

Tan, 37, was spotted by a Traffic Police patrol motorbike, and was subsequently stopped by the officer in Jalan Bahar at around 12.10am, said LTA prosecutor Ng Jun Kai.

"Further checks revealed that the personal mobility device ridden by the offender weighed 48.28kg, which was more than two times the weight of a compliant PMD prescribed by law," said Mr Ng.

He said the case is still under investigation by the Traffic Police and that Tan may face additional charges.

Under the Road Traffic Act, the charge of riding a PMD on the road carries a maximum fine of $2,000, up to three months' jail, or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2019, with the headline 'E-scooter firm faces 56 more charges over illegal service'. Print Edition | Subscribe