Firm faces 56 more charges for illegal e-scooter sharing service; man in court for riding PMD on road

Neuron Mobility's chief executive officer Zachary Wang Zizi (left) and e-scooter retailer Samuel Tan Woon Yeow of Synergy Scooters appeared in court on Aug 1, 2019. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

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

The company, represented in court on Thursday (Aug 1) by its chief executive officer Zachary Wang Zizi , had been charged earlier with two counts of the same offence under the Parking Places Act in February. This brings the total 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 up to six months.

For each day that the offence continues after conviction, the operator 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) had impounded 144 devices from the company.

Telepod was the first to be charged in court with the same offence on Feb 21. It is facing 25 charges and almost 70 devices were 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 that would allow each company to run a fleet of up to 500 of the devices.

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

The authority reminded the licence applicants then that operators should refrain from deploying their personal mobility devices 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 on Thursday for riding a personal mobility device along Lim Chu Kang Road towards Jalan Bahar on July 6 this year.

Under the Road Traffic Act, personal mobility devices 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 added that the case is still under investigation by the Traffic Police, and that Tan may face additional charges.

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

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