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E-scooter sharing services off the table till further notice, existing applications to be rejected: LTA

SINGAPORE — Amid rising safety concerns about personal mobility devices (PMD), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is scrapping plans to offer e-scooter sharing licences, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced in Parliament on Monday (Nov 4).

E-scooter sharing services off the table till further notice, existing applications to be rejected: LTA

Telepod e-scooters impounded at a bus stop along Bayfront Avenue. The local startup is one of the firms that have been vying for the LTA licence.

SINGAPORE — Amid rising safety concerns about personal mobility devices (PMD), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is scrapping plans to offer e-scooter-sharing licences, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced in Parliament on Monday (Nov 4).

“Given the safety concerns of motorised PMD usage on footpaths, we have decided not to accept any new application for PMD-sharing licences,” he said.

“As for existing applications, we will issue a safety directive and LTA will reject them,” Dr Lam said.

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In a separate statement issued on Monday, the LTA said it will not be inviting applications for PMD-sharing licences until further notice. The move was announced alongside a decision to prohibit the use of e-scooters from all footpaths from Tuesday.

In September, LTA announced another delay — for the second time in four months — in handing out licences to firms seeking to operate PMD-sharing services.

It had then cited the need to consult device-sharing and rental companies on extra regulations to improve public safety, as part of a review to "extend safety measures to all electric-scooter sharing and rental companies, as they provide devices that are more easily accessible to the public, including less experienced riders".

The results were to have been announced by the end of September, having already been postponed from the second quarter of the year.

Fourteen companies had submitted applications in February to operate PMD-sharing services under “sandbox licences” here. Sandbox licences allow operators to have small fleets so that LTA may assess their operations and ability to meet regulatory requirements, before they are considered for fully fledged licences to run large-scale operations.

The firms that had been vying for the LTA licence include Singapore startups Telepod and Neuron Mobility, and American e-scooter firm Lime.

FIRE SAFETY

Dr Lam said that since the rollout of a scheme to encourage owners of e-scooters that do not comply with the UL2272 safety standard to turn their devices in early, over 4,800 e-scooters have been disposed.

Earlier this year, the LTA had brought forward the deadline for compliance with the UL2272 standard to 1 July 2020. It will also be introducing a regular inspection regime to ensure compliance. 

The early incentive scheme offered owners of non-compliant e-scooters S$100 if they dispose of their non-compliant devices by Nov 30.

The scheme is now being extended to Dec 31 this year, Dr Lam added.

“We strongly urge the owners of non-compliant e-scooters to dispose of their devices early to protect themselves and their neighbours from unnecessary fire risks.” 

Out of the 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore, at least 80,000 are not UL2272-certified and cannot be used on public paths come July 2020, Dr Lam noted. 

“Of the remaining 20 per cent, those which fail our inspection regime will likewise not be allowed to be used on public paths. This will effectively reduce the population of e-scooters on public paths significantly.” 

Related topics

PMD e-scooter accident Ministry of Transport LTA PMD sharing apps safety

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