The number of food delivery riders on electric scooters plying footpaths dropped on the first day that a new rule kicked in, even as some riders remained insistent they would stick to their devices.
Between the three major food delivery firms here - Deliveroo, foodpanda and GrabFood - they have about 7,000 riders who use e-scooters to make their deliveries
When The Straits Times visited the area around Jurong East MRT station yesterday morning, only about seven food delivery riders were spotted using e-scooters over a period of three hours.
The area is regarded as a potential hot spot for offences involving personal mobility devices (PMDs).
Seven Land Transport Authority (LTA) enforcement officers were seen along Jurong Gateway Road in front of JCube shopping centre from about 10am to noon.
But while a few of the officers were armed with fliers to inform riders about where they will not be able to ride under the new rules, they ended their shift having reached out to only one e-scooter user in the two-hour window.
Riders told ST that the number of riders using e-scooters to deliver food in the area was much lower yesterday than what they were used to seeing.
GrabFood rider Adrin Lim, 27, said: "I usually see many other food delivery riders on e-scooters by (around noon) but I haven't seen anyone doing that in the last hour."
From next year, those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths can be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for up to three months.
But despite the threat of a fine and even jail time, riders who were still using their e-scooters on footpaths said they will continue to do so for as long as they can, even as they hold out hope for a softened stance from the Government.
Food delivery riders continued their practice of warning one another of the presence of LTA's enforcement officers in several areas through social media channels, so as to help the riders avoid getting into trouble.
Asked if he was worried about potential repercussions, Mr Lim said: "No, I will fight any punishment, because the shared path network is not so developed in Singapore.
"I hope the Government will know our feelings. For some people like me, we are doing this as our full-time job, so this ban makes it very hard for us to do our job."
Foodpanda delivery rider Yeo Ming Fong, 31, who last month spent $1,049 to buy a new e-scooter, said: "I can't cycle because I have a leg injury, so for people like me, it is convenient.
"We are just trying to earn a living."
Another foodpanda delivery rider, Mr Alan Poon, 38, said he hopes the authorities can allow a special licence that will let riders of e-scooters continue using them on footpaths for food deliveries.
A few petitions decrying the ban on the Change.org platform have seen their support numbers swell since they were set up.
One, titled Petition On Behalf Of All PMD Users In Singapore: Allow PMD On Footpaths Or Roads, had collected about 14,800 signatures as of 11pm yesterday.
- Additional reporting by Wong Kai Yi