SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Storage fees are not charged for non-compliant mobility devices that are seized and forfeited, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Tuesday (Oct 16).
The LTA made the clarification after a widely shared social media post claimed a woman was told to pay close to $1,800 in towing and storage fees for her non-compliant e-scooter that had been impounded.
A photograph of a letter issued to her by the LTA was shared on multiple social media sites on Monday, including Facebook page Roads.sg, which drew hundreds of comments.
While some netizens applauded the LTA's enforcement efforts, others criticised the allegedly hefty fees.
According to the letter, the woman was caught using the non-compliant 27.7kg e-scooter on the footpath of Bedok North Road at about 9.50am on July 30.
As e-scooters must not exceed 20kg, her device was 7.7kg overweight and was impounded for investigations.
The letter, dated Oct 5, asked the woman to attend an interview at the LTA's investigation division on Monday (Oct 15), 77 days after she was caught.
It also said she had to pay a flat towing fee of $150 and a storage charge of $21.40 per day from the date the device was impounded, which would have come up to about $1,650.
She was warned that failure to respond to the interview request and to settle the necessary charges would lead to the e-scooter being disposed of and legal proceedings being taken against the owner to recover the outstanding fees.
Replying to queries from The New Paper, the LTA said in a statement on Tuesday that it was aware of the letter circulating online.
Its spokesman said the e-scooter owner did not need to pay for storage costs, as non-compliant devices that are forfeited do not incur storage fees.
However, towing fees are charged when a device is seized to act as a deterrent and to recover expenses incurred by the LTA when carrying out its enforcement, she added.
In this case, the $150 fee was waived in view of the e-scooter owner's extenuating circumstances. The spokesman did not elaborate on what the circumstances were.
She also did not comment on why the letter was sent more than two months after the woman was caught or why the letter had mentioned the need to pay storage charges.
Under the Active Mobility Act, which took effect on May 1, bicycles, power-assisted bicycles (PABs) and personal mobility devices (PMDs) cannot exceed 20kg in weight, 70cm in width, and 25kmh in speed, if motorised.
PABs also need to fulfil other technical requirements.
Non-compliant devices can be seized and later forfeited, and those found to be using them on public paths can be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to three months, or both.
Repeat offenders face a fine of up to $10,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
For impounded devices that are compliant, the LTA said the device owners are given a grace period to collect them after investigations are concluded.
It did not specify the length of the grace period but said storage fees would apply if the impounded device remains uncollected after the grace period.
PMD users contacted by TNP had mixed reactions.
Mr Gregory Tham, 38, who uses his e-scooter daily, said the $150 towing fee was hard to justify. The graphic designer added: "I don't see any reason the fee for a small object like this can cost so much."
Another e-scooter rider, Mr Wilson Seng, 30, felt levying fees for those who flout the regulations is reasonable.
He said: "We can't have the taxpayer footing the bill."