Singapore

14 companies apply for PMD-sharing licences

This article is more than 12 months old

Fourteen firms have applied to operate personal mobility device (PMD) sharing services.

The companies vying for the Land Transport Authority's (LTA's) device-sharing licence - which will allow them to run fleets of devices like e-scooters - include players such as local start-ups Neuron Mobility and Telepod. New contenders include US company Helbiz and Singapore's Omni Sharing, the major shareholder in failed bike-sharing firm oBike.

Applications for the licence closed on Monday. The licence caps the number of devices a company can run, and requires the firms to take steps to curb indiscriminate parking.

Two existing bike-sharing operators - local firm Anywheel and China-based Mobike - have also applied for the licence.

LTA said it will adopt a conservative approach in setting fleet sizes for the operators.

E-scooter sharing services have taken off in the last two years, with Lime and Bird, both from the US, valued at about US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) each.

But National University of Singapore transport lecturer Lee Der Horng wondered if the small-scale operations required by the LTA would be commercially viable.

He also doubted the safety of PMDs for untrained users.

A survey by non-profit magazine Consumer Report this month found that more than 1,500 people had been injured in e-scooter accidents in the US since late 2017.

Meanwhile, Moov Mobility and Ywise Circle have applied to operate shared bikes under the LTA's bicycle-sharing sandbox licence. Mobike, whose bike fleet is capped at 25,000, and Anywheel, which operates 1,000 bikes, have also applied to expand their fleet sizes.

Transport