SINGAPORE - Students rushing to classes at the National University of Singapore (NUS) may soon have a faster way of getting there.
Ride-hailing firm Grab announced on Friday (Nov 23) that its innovation arm, Grab Ventures, is partnering NUS to introduce an e-scooter sharing service in NUS' Kent Ridge campus.
A three-month trial of the service was launched on Monday and saw e-scooters deployed across eight parking stations within the campus.
The trial also marks the first time that new shared active mobility app GrabWheels is being tested in Singapore.
Grab said "a small number" of e-scooters have already been deployed, with plans to gradually add more around the campus over the next few weeks, depending on the demand from students, faculty and staff.
Grab also aims to increase the number of parking stations to 30 by the end of this year. Though the stations vary in size, each can accommodate around 10 e-scooters.
During this trial period, users are charged a special rate of 20 cents for every 30 minutes of use or part thereof. Payment can be made using GrabPay, and users will receive five GrabRewards Points for every dollar spent.
All rides also include insurance coverage at no additional cost to users.
In order to begin their journey, users will need to first download the GrabWheels Beta app and link it to the main Grab app. They can then proceed to any of the parking stations and unlock an e-scooter using the GrabWheels Beta app.
Upon reaching their destination, users will be directed by the app to return the e-scooter to the nearest parking location. Users can end the trip and lock the e-scooter only by scanning a specific QR code at dedicated parking spaces.
Every evening, Grab's operations team will collect all the e-scooters, charge them and return them to their original parking locations for use the next day.
Grab said it plans to educate users on safe riding behaviour through in-app messages in order to encourage users to ride safely within the campus. There will also be a support team on standby around the clock to assist users who encounter any issues during the pilot period.
Mr Nicholas Tey, a 23-year-old student at NUS' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, noted that students need to move around the campus frequently to attend classes, meet friends and run errands.
"These e-scooters offer us an alternative to taking the shuttle buses, especially when we are in a hurry and the bus has yet to arrive," he said.
As part of the trial, Grab and NUS will also study the patterns of how commuters utilise the shared e-scooters, to gain insights into how e-scooters can help address transportation needs on campus.
Professor Yong Kwet Yew, NUS' senior vice-president for campus infrastructure, said: "This partnership with Grab not only provides a last-mile transportation option for NUS students and staff, but it also offers interesting research opportunities to develop innovative mobility solutions that could shape the future of urban transportation."
During the trial period, only NUS staff and students may use the e-scooters, which are intended for use only within the campus. However, Grab said that it intends to launch the service across South-east Asia, adding that as with all services, market potential and product fit have to be evaluated before the e-scooter sharing service is introduced to other markets.
A Grab spokesman said: "We also welcome users to give us feedback during this pilot so that we can improve their experience."
Head of Grab Ventures Chris Yeo said its partnership with NUS was "a good example of how Grab can work together with local communities and cities to improve transportation and urban mobility for all".
Grab's latest announcement comes a day after shared e-scooter company Lime announced the deployment of its personal mobility devices in Singapore.
Lime's scooters have been available at Singapore Science Park 1 and 2 for at least the past two weeks.