LTA again delays handing out PMD-sharing licences amid review of safety measures

LTA again delays handing out PMD-sharing licences amid review of safety measures

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has for the second time pushed back a decision on awarding licences to companies seeking to operate sharing services for personal mobility devices (PMDs). Ahmad Khan has more.

SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has for the second time pushed back a decision on awarding licences to companies seeking to operate sharing services for personal mobility devices (PMDs).

Responding to media queries on Monday (Sep 30), LTA said it will announce the results of the applications "at a later date".

Earlier this year, 14 companies had submitted applications to operate PMD-sharing services here.

The application results were supposed to have been announced in the second quarter of this year, but had been delayed to the third quarter. 

On Monday, LTA said it will be consulting device-sharing and rental companies on additional regulations to improve public safety.

"This is part of a review to extend safety measures to all e-scooter sharing and rental companies, as they provide devices which are more easily accessible to the public, including less experienced riders," it said. 

LTA added that while there have been suggestions for PMDs to have locally developed trackers to monitor the speed and location of the devices, this is something that needs to be further looked into.

"While such technology exists, there are implementation difficulties that have to be studied further. These implementation difficulties include ensuring that the speed tracking device is tamper proof, and the accuracy of location data," said the authority.

READ: PMD safety certification deadline moved forward to July 2020; all e-scooters to go through mandatory inspection

READ: S$100 'early disposal incentive' for e-scooters that do not meet fire safety standards: LTA

Of the 14 operators that had submitted applications earlier this year to run PMD-sharing services, at least two - Chinese firm Mobike and United States-based Lime - have withdrawn their applications.

One of the applicants, Singapore-based Beam - which currently has operations in countries such as Malaysia and Australia - said it was disappointed that the issuing of the licences had been delayed again. 

"We are hopeful that the delay will be short and that LTA will conduct meaningful consultations with operators to address any concerns that have not been raised during the eight-month evaluation process," said Beam's corporate affairs vice-president Christopher Hilton. 

Another applicant, Neuron Mobility, said it was committed to working with the LTA to figure out what additional regulations are needed to improve safety. ​​​​​​​

A Neuron spokesperson said she believes technology could address many safety concerns, for example by using geofencing to detect and manage the speed of devices. 

The result of an application by bike-sharing firm Moov Technology to expand its fleet under a full licence has also been delayed. The company currently has 1,000 bicycles here under a "sandbox" licence.

LTA's announcement comes at a time of increased scrutiny on the safety of PMDs. 

Last Wednesday, an elderly cyclist died after a collision with an e-scooter in Bedok. LTA said that the PMD exceeded the prescribed weight and width limit, and should not have been used on public paths. 

READ: E-scooter in fatal collision with elderly cyclist in Bedok was a non-compliant device: LTA 

READ: Man dies after losing control of e-scooter along Tanah Merah Coast Road

Last week, the Active Mobility Advisory Panel submitted its latest round of recommendations on the safe use of PMDs. If the recommendations are taken up by the Government, e-scooter riders will have to pass mandatory theory test and be at least 16 years old to use the device on public paths.

Source: CNA/az(gs)

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