Delivery riders worry about e-scooter ban
Fewer e-scooter riders on footpaths on first day of ban, though some persist
The day the e-scooter ban on footpaths took effect, about 30 riders were seen using their personal mobility devices (PMDs) on footpaths near Sembawang and Woodlands MRT stations and near shopping malls during lunchtime.
Under new rules announced in Parliament on Monday, e-scooters are banned on the 5,500km of footpaths in Singapore.
This means that the use of e-scooters, which are already banned on roads, will be confined to 440km of cycling paths.
Errant behaviour and an increasing number of accidents made the move necessary to make pedestrians feel safe again, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told Parliament on Monday.
Yesterday, officers from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) were deployed in Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Jurong to warn e-scooter riders travelling on footpaths. By 5pm, it had issued more than 100 warnings.
But come Jan 1, LTA will take a zero-tolerance approach and offenders will be liable for a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail up to three months.
In the area around Jurong East MRT station - regarded as a hot spot for offences involving PMDs - only seven food delivery drivers were seen on their e-scooters over a period of three hours, The Straits Times reported.
Most of the 20 food delivery riders The New Paper spoke to yesterday felt that the ban will affect their livelihoods.
One rider, who wanted to be known only as Mr Bai, 49, who works with FoodPanda, said the job was his only hope of turning over a new leaf after serving nine years in jail.
He said: "There are many riders like me who aren't highly educated. We are just trying to make an honest living."
Mr Bai, who lives with his elderly parents, added that he works 10 hours a day including weekends and earns $2,500 to $3,000 a month.
"The ban is going to be a huge blow to my rice bowl," he said.
Another food delivery rider, who wanted to be known only as Mr Andy, said that he would consider selling his PMD and buying a bicycle to continue working.
He said: "The ban will affect me since this is my livelihood but law is law and life has to go on. Hopefully I can save up for a bicycle to deliver food."
Associate Professor Nitin Pangarkar at the National University of Singapore Business School said that e-scooter users are paying the price for poor behaviour by some.
He said: "The errant riders were probably betting on the fact that they would not get caught because enforcement is difficult."
A few petitions decrying the ban on the Change.org platform have seen their numbers swell since they were set up.
One, titled "Petition on behalf of all PMD users in Singapore: Allow PMD on Footpaths or Roads", had collected nearly 14,000 signatures as of 9.30pm yesterday. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY HIDAYAH ISKANDAR & KOK YUFENG