$7m fund to help delivery riders switch from e-scooters

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min (in white, left) and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education Faishal Ibrahim (in white, right) speaking to delivery riders at LTA's headquarters along Hampshire
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min (in white, left) and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Education Faishal Ibrahim (in white, right) speaking to delivery riders at LTA's headquarters along Hampshire Road on Nov 8, 2019.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Set up by Govt and three delivery firms, fund will give up to $1,000 each to buy alternatives

Food delivery riders affected by a ban to get electric scooters off public footpaths will receive up to $1,000 each to switch to bicycles, power-assisted bicycles (PABs) or personal mobility aids (PMAs).

The Government and three major food delivery companies - Grab, Deliveroo and foodpanda - have set up a $7 million e-scooter Trade-in Grant (eTG), the Ministry of Transport said yesterday.

Under the scheme, those who trade in their existing e-scooters from Nov 15 to Dec 31 will each get up to $1,000 to buy a PAB, or $600 for a bicycle. A typical e-scooter costs between $500 and $1,400.

Unlike bicycles and PMAs that can be used on footpaths, PABs are allowed only on roads and cycling paths. Riders must wear a helmet on roads.

Since the ban was announced on Monday, food delivery riders have voiced concerns that their livelihood would be affected. Groups of them have been meeting MPs to air their worries.

Those caught flouting the rules can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to three months.

There are about 31,000 food delivery riders here, with some 7,000 - the majority being GrabFood riders - who use personal mobility devices (PMDs), mainly e-scooters.

Grab, Deliveroo and foodpanda will administer the trade-in grant scheme, said the authorities, adding that the companies are also working with retailers to purchase new devices in bulk to reduce costs.

Only those who are food delivery riders as at Nov 7, are eligible for the trade-in scheme. They will have to surrender their e-scooters at disposal points at Grab, Deliveroo and foodpanda premises.

 
 
 
 

NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute and Workforce Singapore are also working with the three companies to help affected riders.

They will provide career services and job search support under the Adapt and Grow initiative, for those who want to look for other jobs.

Riders with immediate financial difficulties can seek temporary financial help from Ministry of Social and Family Development and ComCare schemes, MOT added.

At a media briefing yesterday to announce the new initiatives, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min reiterated that the decision to ban e-scooters from public footpaths was a difficult one.

He said that while PMDs or e-scooters, used in a responsible way, are useful for first-and last-mile commutes as well as food delivery services, there have been too many accidents. "We have to ask ourselves - are we going to allow this to continue? We risk having more injuries and more fatalities," he said.

In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "We are returning footpath safety to pre-PMD days."

Riders affected by the ban welcomed the grants. Said GrabFood delivery rider Muhamad Khairul, 33: "It's good that they are giving us a trade-in programme so we don't need to spend too much money to change from our e-scooters.

"It's fair for us."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2019, with the headline '$7m fund to help delivery riders switch from e-scooters'. Print Edition | Subscribe