E-scooters banned on footpaths: Food delivery riders' concerns will be looked into, says Desmond Lee

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee meeting a group of food delivery riders last night at his Meet-the-People Session in Jurong Spring. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee meeting a group of food delivery riders last night at his Meet-the-People Session in Jurong Spring. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Over 50 PMD riders turn up at Meet-the-People Session to speak to Desmond Lee about e-scooter ban on footpaths

The concerns of food delivery riders who use personal mobility devices (PMDs) are "genuine Singaporean concerns", said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee last night at his Meet-the-People Session in Jurong Spring.

He said: "Because I'm from MSF, we'll want to make sure that if they have urgent concerns from what has happened to their livelihoods, we will be in a position to assist them as quickly as we can."

At the session, he met more than 50 PMD riders who were protesting against the e-scooter ban on footpaths that took effect on Tuesday.

The riders voiced their concerns to him and in a letter, which included their alternative proposals to the ban, such as needing a licence and a minimum age of 18 to ride a PMD.

There were also several PMD retailers present who delivered a letter of their own, asking for more shared paths and that PMDs be allowed on roads.

Mr Lee, who is a Jurong GRC MP, told the media the ban is "intended to safeguard Singaporeans who, as pedestrians, use the walkways".

"And so, these are the trade-offs and these rules have been put in place for a reason, but you also want to look after these (people)."

The group consisted mostly of GrabFood delivery riders, and some, such as part-time polytechnic student Musfirah Suandi, 28, were residents in Jurong GRC.

Ms Musfirah, who became a part-time GrabFood rider in July, said the work allowed her flexible hours to care for her 57-year-old mother who has diabetes and a weak heart. "This is our rice bowl. We won't ride recklessly because we don't want to jeopardise our rice bowl," she said.

 
 
 
 

Mr Lee, who spoke to the group at about 8.15pm at a multi-purpose hall in his ward, told them that he would do three things.

First, he said he would pass on the concerns expressed in the letters to the Ministry of Transport.

"Second, I offered to put them in touch with my team right here on site from both my branch, as well as union offices from the NTUC, to take down any concerns they may have," said Mr Lee.

Third, he offered to meet the riders one-on-one in his office after the session ended.

He also said he had met several residents who were food delivery riders who had highlighted similar concerns to him on Wednesday.

Another group of around 100 riders was at Block 644, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 to deliver a petition to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who is an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC.

He is in Saudi Arabia accompanying President Halimah Yacob on a state visit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2019, with the headline 'Food delivery riders' concerns will be looked into: Minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe