Two e-scooter sharing companies fined for operating without licences

Two e-scooter sharing companies fined for operating without licences

Telepod e-scooters
Telepod e-scooters impounded at a bus stop along Bayfront Avenue on Jul 14, 2018. (Photo: LTA)

SINGAPORE: E-scooter sharing operators Neuron Mobility and Telepod were on Monday (Sep 16) fined S$38,000 and S$16,000 respectively for providing their services without a licence.

The two firms were among the first in the industry to provide e-scooter sharing services when they launched in 2017.

They provided dockless electric-scooter sharing services, with users having to return the devices at parking stations across the island.

However, enforcement officers from the Land Transport Authority's Active Mobility Enforcement Division found 93 Neuron e-scooters and 48 Telepod e-scooters before either company had been issued licences for Personal Mobility Device (PMD) sharing services.

READ: LTA impounds PMDs from Neuron Mobility, Telepod and Beam

The devices were found at Bayfront Avenue, Haw Par Villa MRT and along Beach Road, among other locations.

LTA had sent a letter to Neuron Mobility in July 2018 informing the company that it was not allowed to operate e-scooter sharing services without a licence. It had sent similar letters and emails to Telepod in May last year and again in July last year.

However, up to February this year, enforcement officers still found devices made available for hire to the public belonging to both companies.

The two companies had been among several prospective operators who confirmed with CNA in February that they intended to enter the shared mobility device market.

READ: 10 shared e-scooter operators confirm interest ahead of licence deadline

LTA had said that it would be handing out licences in the second quarter of this year, but later postponed this to the third quarter while it stepped up its enforcement against reckless riding and PMD-related accidents.

According to the prosecution, there are currently only three areas where companies do not require a licence to provide vehicle sharing: one-north, CleanTech Park and Republic Polytechnic.

District Judge Lorraine Ho said these were the first cases of their kind under the relevant section in the Parking Places Act, which came into effect only in May last year.

Existing operators were given two months to comply with the new licensing regime, which aims to curb "unsafe and inconsiderate" use of PMDs and indiscriminate parking, she said. 

She lauded LTA for “its prudence in wanting to provide a rigorous licensing regime”, but noted that the long deferment in awarding such licences would have an impact on businesses and local start-ups.

"Such start-ups may have sought to foster their entrepreneurship spirit by being the forerunners of their trade or field even before new laws were enacted and new policies implemented,” she said.

Telepod ceased operating in August while Neuron Mobility stopped operating in Singapore in July, but continues to offer its e-scooter sharing services in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Brisbane.

Telepod had pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Parking Places Act, while Neuron admitted to 19.

The firms could have been fined a maximum of S$10,000 per charge.

Source: CNA/ll

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