SINGAPORE: Food delivery companies in Singapore have stressed that their riders who use Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) must comply with the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) rules and regulations.
Last week, a 33-year-old food delivery man was stopped by LTA officers for riding an e-scooter which exceeded the maximum allowable weight of 20kg.
The man “became emotional” after he was stopped along Yishun Avenue 2 and was subsequently handcuffed and arrested.
In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, the four main food delivery companies in Singapore – Foodpanda, Honestbee, GrabFood and Deliveroo – all outlined the importance of adhering to Singapore’s road safety laws.
Managing director for Honestbee Singapore Chris Urban told Channel NewsAsia that its riders are informed of safety standards that they have to adhere to and some good practices they should abide by.
“Delivery 'bees' who are found to be using non-compliant PMDs will be taken to task, and we will not hesitate to terminate their contract if we deem necessary after a proper investigation,” said Mr Urban.
For GrabFood, riders who join are required to inform the company about the mode of delivery they will use – whether by motorbike, PMD, bicycle or on foot.
This registration process allows the company to verify and ensure that the rider’s PMD is compliant with Singapore law.
All four companies told Channel NewsAsia that they educate their riders on the importance of adhering to PMD regulations during the onboarding process.
A Foodpanda spokesperson said its delivery fleet, which includes riders using PMD and power-assisted bicycles, is trained on “all road safety and regulations as well as code of conduct via a compulsory orientation programme”.
GrabFood said its riders are educated on the Active Mobility Act, a set of rules and a code of conduct for cyclists as well as riders of PMDs and power-assisted bicycles (PABs).
According to the Act, which was passed in Parliament in January 2017, PMDs and PABs used on public paths must not exceed 20kg, are allowed a maximum width of 70cm and the speed is capped at 25kmh.
SOME RIDERS BREAK LAW DUE TO TIME ‘PRESSURE’
Mr Khairul (not his real name), a PMD rider with one of the major food delivery companies, told Channel NewsAsia that while his e-scooter is certified legal, he does “occasionally” ride on roads, instead of public paths.
“It can’t be helped. Sometimes there are delays with the restaurants and we are under pressure to meet the estimated delivery time,” said the 23-year-old.
“I only do this late at night, when the roads are empty. It’s easier to navigate compared to the foot paths,” he added.
Mr Raymond, a rider with GrabFood, said that he has seen fellow riders from different companies use illegal PMDs, modified to travel fast, so that they can make more deliveries.
“They want to meet their incentives or simply do more jobs, so they boost the engines (to increase the speed),” said the 28-year-old.
For Mr Raymond, he recently purchased the Segway Ninebot ES2, an LTA-compliant e-scooter, to make deliveries.
“I don’t want to break the rules. Plus Grab does not have a time limit for riders. If we are late, the app would update the customer that there’s a delay,” he added.
GrabFood and Deliveroo confirmed to Channel NewsAsia that their riders are not restricted by a time limit.
Deliveroo Singapore’s general manager Siddharth Shanker said: “We don’t impose time limits on riders to complete their deliveries, as our priority is safe delivery.”
TRAINING PROGRAMMES TO EDUCATE RIDERS
Additionally, Grab and Deliveroo both said they offer additional training and support to all their riders to educate them on the importance of committing to road safety.
Grab said it recently launched a “Safer Everyday” commitment where it partnered various Government agencies to promote health and occupational safety for its drivers and delivery partners.
One of Grab’s partners is Unique Speed, which offers a programme to ensure that GrabFood riders using PMDs “are conscious of the space they share with other road users and pedestrians”.
Similarly, Deliveroo’s Mr Shanker said it offers its riders additional training and support through a “Safe Riding Programme”, which was launched in August.
He said the programme covers safe riding practices for cyclists, PMD users and power-assisted bicycle riders.
“Two sessions were held this year and more sessions will be held for riders in the coming months,” he added.
“We actively encourage all our riders to take part and have incorporated key content from the SRP curriculum, as well as the latest rules and regulations into our existing road safety guidelines."