Singapore

GrabFood to still use e-scooters, will ban those caught on footpaths

But those caught riding on footpaths will be banned for life from food delivery platform

GrabFood, Singapore's largest food delivery company, will continue working with e-scooter users while it is reviewing whether the device remains a viable mode of delivery.

A Grab spokesman told The New Paper yesterday: "GrabFood is not banning e-scooters on the platform.

"However, we have received feedback from our delivery partners that it is increasingly challenging to deliver food on e-scooters."

She said those caught riding an e-scooter on footpaths will be permanently banned from the GrabFood platform.

"Our delivery partners are also aware they are required to adhere to all local regulations as per our code of conduct."

The Land Transport Authority's (LTA) zero-tolerance approach to the ban on e-scooters on footpaths kicked in at the start of the new year.

The ban, which took effect on Nov 5 last year, means that e-scooters, which are not allowed on roads, can be used only on 440km of cycling paths.

Since then, the LTA has issued close to 10,000 warnings to e-scooter users for flouting the ban.

Offenders can now be fined up to $2,000, jailed for up to three months, or both.

The GrabFood spokesman said as of Monday, more than 65 per cent of its riders who qualify for the e-scooter Trade-in-Grant (eTG) have applied for it.

Its riders have until Jan 14 to apply for the grant.

Under the $7 million scheme, set up by the Government and three major food delivery companies - Grabfood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo - eligible riders can trade in an e-scooter for up to $1,000 to switch to electric bicycles or personal mobility aids.

Those who switch to bicycles can receive up to $600 each.

On Wednesday, Deliveroo said it had stopped assigning food delivery orders to personal mobility device (PMD) users.

PMD riders who had not switched vehicles or applied for the eTG by the Dec 31 deadline would not be able to continue working with Deliveroo until they confirm they would switch to other vehicles, it added.

A Deliveroo spokesman told TNP it had received applications from 25 per cent of its PMD fleet, with most of them approved by the LTA.

She said Deliveroo has no plans to give an extension for its riders to submit claims. But those who submitted after the deadline will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

"We have proactively taken measures to minimise the impact of the restrictions to our riders and customers' deliveries," she added.

Yesterday, TNP saw about 20 LTA enforcement officers and auxiliary police patrolling the area outside Ang Mo Kio Hub.

A power-assisted bicycle (PAB) user, who was caught for riding on the footpath, later told TNP: "I am not going to ride on the pavements any more, lesson learnt. I hope I don't get fined a lot."

No e-scooter user was seen when TNP was in the vicinity of Woodlands MRT station yesterday evening, compared with as many as 20 before the zero-tolerance policy took effect.

However, TNP understands that LTA enforcement officers caught at least four errant e-scooter riders in Woodlands yesterday morning.

A part-time GrabFood rider, who wanted to be known only as Mr Adib, said e-scooter riders avoided the area after the enforcement operations.

Mr Adib, who uses a bicycle, said: "Most of the e-scooter riders have bicycles. I think they will be making the switch after this morning."

In a separate incident early yesterday, a PAB caught fire while being charged at the ninth-storey corridor of Block 409 Bedok North Avenue 2.

A 45-year-old resident told Shin Min Daily News that his brother, 30, uses the PAB for food deliveries, and that it went up in flames after less than 10 minutes of charging.

He said: "I've decided not to let him ride a PAB any more.

"He will have to use a regular bicycle if he wants to continue delivering food."

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAVID SUN

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