SINGAPORE: About 450 applications were received as of 5pm from registered e-scooter owners looking to dispose of their devices that do not meet new fire safety standards, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Monday (Sep 23).
This is a fraction of the 90,000 e-scooters registered with LTA, of which 90 per cent do not meet the UL2272 safety requirement.
Monday was the first day of LTA's S$100 incentive scheme for e-scooter owners who agree to dispose of their devices early, ahead of next July's ban on the use of such devices here.
To qualify for the S$100, the e-scooters must have been registered, and owners have to bring the devices to a designated disposal point.
Only two of these disposal points were opened on Monday, according to LTA's list of the 181 locations and their opening hours.
At LTA's Sin Ming office, the first e-scooter user arrived just after 11am. By noon, five people had turned up to surrender their devices but two were not eligible for the cash incentive.
One of them was a woman with a non-registered e-scooter, who demanded to know why she did not qualify for the S$100.
Another user who was not eligible for the incentive said he had bought the device secondhand from his friend for S$200.
“I will give it back to my friend and take my money back,” he said.
While the ban on non-compliant personal mobility devices (PMD) kicks in only next July, a user said he would rather "get rid of it early" and "spend (the money) on some drinks".
The man, who declined to be named, turned up at LTA's Sin Ming office with a one-wheel scooter he bought two years ago.
“I bought this two years ago on a Kickstarter project it just got delivered to me two years later. It is not UL2272 certified but now I can’t do anything about it so I am not happy,” he said.
At the other designated disposal point near Block 209 Boon Lay Place, there was a short queue of PMD users waiting for the collection point to open at 5pm.
A 57-year-old who wanted to be known as Eric Lim came with two registered e-scooters, which he had bought for S$1,000 and S$600.
When asked how he felt about the ban and the early disposal incentive, he said he had “no choice”, but that he understood LTA’s decision to ban non-UL2272 scooters due to the spate of fires caused by such devices.
“I don’t blame the government because there is no choice,” said Mr Lim, adding that he will not buy any more e-scooters after this.
“Now that there are so many rules to follow, this thing (scooter) gives you so much stress and worry. Will you keep it or not? No right,” he said. “You buy a certain thing to make your life easier but now it became like this.”
Another user, who only wanted to be known as Mr Lim, had similar sentiments.
“I think it is a good thing. Because of the high capacity batteries, so many fires have occurred. So it is good to be more regulated in that sense,” he said.
The 35-year-old, who lives across from the Boon Lay Place disposal point, had been using his S$500 scooter for more than two years.
As he had been looking at ways to dispose of it, he welcomed LTA’s S$100 early disposal incentive.
“Previously I was actually looking at recyclers who would take it in but then I have to go all the way to Tuas which is very inconvenient,” said Mr Lim.
“The S$100 is an additional bonus for me because I was already thinking of how to dispose of it for free,” he added. “From what I heard, I may even need to pay for it to be recycled."
Mr Lim plans to get a new e-scooter that meets the new safety standard, to travel to work like he used to.
The S$100 incentive goes on until Nov 30.
Those who dispose of their e-scooters after Nov 30 don't qualify for the S$100 incentive, but they can still drop off their devices at the designated points until Mar 31, 2020.