SINGAPORE - A new training programme to help food delivery riders switch from e-scooters to e-bicycles has been launched, with funding already secured for about 2,000 riders to be trained.
The programme by the National Trades Union Congress announced on Wednesday (Dec 11) covers areas such as codes of conduct on roads and first-aid skills.
It is part of the labour movement's latest efforts to help some of the 7,000 e-scooter food delivery riders here struggling with the Government's e-scooter footpath ban, which kicked in on Nov 5.
The programme, dubbed Delivery Rider Kit, was developed by NTUC with support from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
It complements the $7 million scheme co-funded by food delivery companies Grab, Deliveroo and Foodpanda, as well as LTA, that has subsidised more than 2,500 food delivery riders to trade in their e-scooters for e-bikes.
Unlike e-scooters, e-bikes, also called power-assisted bicycles, are allowed on roads. However, e-bikes are also not allowed on footpaths, like e-scooters.
The new Delivery Rider Kit programme comprises five one-day courses which riders can choose to sign up for, teaching hard and soft skills that include "how to engage customers in a positive way and win their trust and support", NTUC said.
Up to 90 per cent of the course fees will be subsidised by NTUC, SSG, WSG and LTA, with fees for NTUC union members completely paid for.
An NTUC spokesman said funds for about 2,000 riders have already been secured, although more food delivery riders looking to sign up for the courses will not be turned away.
NTUC and the food delivery companies will seek sources of funding to ensure such riders can also benefit from the training at minimal cost.
Earlier, NTUC said that food delivery riders who are not its members can sign up for membership until Dec 31 to enjoy other initiatives it launched to help riders, such as one-time Kopitiam foodcourt and NTUC FairPrice gift cards valued at either $100 or $200.
At $9 a month, membership fees will be completely reimbursed to them after three months, so that they need not fork out extra money during the transition from e-scooters to e-bikes.
Riders who want to apply for the programme should do so through their employers or through NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute (E2i).
Ms Jean See, the acting director of NTUC's freelancers and self-employed unit, said proper training programmes will help both riders and improve public perception of them.
"(It can) build the riders' community as one that is professional and responsible, one that can co-exist harmoniously with fellow path-and-road users," she said.
Grab, the biggest player in the food delivery business here, will conduct one of the courses and give out smart helmets to riders who complete it.
The "Safe Riding on Pedal and Power-Assisted Bicycles" course was designed based on the "wide range of challenges" that food delivery riders face during the course of their work, GrabFood said.
Once participants have completed the course, they will receive a free smart helmet developed by local start-up Lumos.
The lightweight helmet has built-in LED lights and turn signal indicators to make the rider more visible on the road. Through a smartphone app, or an optional remote controller, riders can indicate which direction they are turning, alerting other motorists to their intentions.
The helmet is aimed at protecting its riders from "preventable incidents", said head of transport at Grab Singapore Andrew Chan.
"This is aligned to our drive towards a goal of zero preventable incidents on our platform," Mr Chan said in a statement.