SINGAPORE - Two companies were on Monday (Sept 16) fined a total of $54,000 over unlicensed dockless e-scooter sharing services, which were for users to hire and ride these devices in public.
Neuron Mobility and Telepod have become the first two firms to be dealt with in court for offences involving the public sharing of personal mobility devices (PMDs).
Neuron was fined $38,000 after it was convicted of 19 charges under the Parking Places Act. Telepod was fined $16,000 after it pleaded guilty to eight similar charges.
Land Transport Authority (LTA) prosecution officer Daniel Marini said the authority told the public on July 4 last year that those without a licence issued by it cannot operate undocked vehicle-sharing services in public places in Singapore.
Twelve days later, LTA informed Neuron about the regulations through a letter sent by registered post as well as via e-mail.
The letter also told the company to stop providing e-scooter sharing services in public places. Neuron chief executive officer Wang Zi Zi confirmed that he received the e-mail, the court heard.
But between last October and February, enforcement officers from LTA's Active Mobility Enforcement Division found 93 undocked e-scooters belonging to Neuron in public places.
They were in spots such as Fullerton Road, Boat Quay and outside Amoy Street Food Centre.
The officers managed to hire all 93 e-scooters with their mobile phones and the devices were later impounded by LTA for investigations.
Similarly, LTA informed Telepod of the regulation in May last year. It also sent the company a letter via registered post and an e-mail about the matter on July 11 last year.
Telepod CEO Gan Jin Ni confirmed receiving them, said Mr Marini.
LTA's enforcement officers, however, found 48 undocked Telepod e-scooters at places, including Beach Road and near Haw Par Villa MRT station, from July last year to February.
In her grounds of decision, District Judge Lorraine Ho said: "Parliament has mandated that a person is no longer authorised to provide any licensable vehicle-sharing services of PMDs such as e-scooters to the general public for hire and allowing the hiring of these PMDs to end in or at public places undocked.
"This is unless he or she has been granted a licence to do so or has been exempted from obtaining such a licence if such services are located within One-North, CleanTech Park or Republic Polytechnic."
Mr Marini had said that the applications for PMD-sharing licences opened only on Jan 4 this year and no licences have been issued to date.
He added: "Time was required to place necessary safeguards ensuring the maintenance, and keeping safe and roadworthy vehicles used in the licensable service. This is to ensure the safety of users and the general public."
Neuron Mobility and Telepod have since stopped operating in Singapore. For each charge, each company could have been fined up to $10,000.