LTA: Earliest Beam can launch e-scooter sharing is next year

Singapore-based start-up Beam had announced on Oct 23, 2018, it planned to roll out its rental personal mobility devices in Singapore "within the next few weeks".
Singapore-based start-up Beam had announced on Oct 23, 2018, it planned to roll out its rental personal mobility devices in Singapore "within the next few weeks".PHOTO: BEAM

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has clarified that the earliest Singapore-based start-up Beam can launch its e-scooter sharing service here is next year.

The company had announced on Tuesday it planned to roll out its rental personal mobility devices (PMD) here "within the next few weeks", having raised US$6.4 million (S$8.8 million) in funding from investors.

However, in a statement yesterday, the LTA said: "We would like to remind all interested companies that it is an offence to operate a device-sharing service at public places without a licence."

It noted licence application exercises are conducted twice a year, with the next one in January next year open to PMD-sharing services such as Beam.

The licence places a cap on the number of devices a firm is allowed to operate here and requires these firms to take measures to curb indiscriminate parking.

Unlicensed operators can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to six months, with a further fine of $500 for each day it continues to operate after conviction.

The Straits Times understands that while there are other e-scooter sharing services here, such as Telepod and Neuron Mobility, these firms have partnered property owners to offer their services within the boundaries of these properties, thus exempting them from LTA regulations.

 

Last month, six bicycle-sharing companies were given the approval to operate a combined fleet of 55,000 bikes here.

The LTA added that, as with other firms interested in offering PMD-sharing services, it had invited Beam to an "engagement session" to share its plans.

In response to the LTA's statement, Beam's corporate affairs vice-president Christopher Hilton said: "Although Beam has not yet launched in Singapore, we have already communicated to the LTA we intend to comply fully with the Parking Places Act when we launch and we look forward to working closely with the LTA to bring greater mobility options to Singapore."

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline 'LTA: Earliest Beam can launch e-scooter sharing is next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe