SINGAPORE: While banning the use of electric scooters on footpaths to safeguard pedestrians, food delivery riders who use personal mobility devices (PMDs) for work are also Singaporeans with "genuine concerns", said Desmond's Minister for Social and Family Development Lee on Thursday (Nov 7).
Mr Lee, who is a Member of Parliament for the Jurong Spring ward of the Jurong GRC, was speaking at sidelines of his Meet-the-People (MPS) session, where 50 delivery riders turned up hoping to voice their concerns over how the new regulations would affect their livelihood.
More than half were wearing green GrabFood T-shirts.
Grab had previously said a third of its riders would be affected by the new rules.
Another food delivery firm, Deliveroo, said it has helped about 30 per cent of its riders who previously used PMDs or e-bikes to switch to other modes of transport such as bicycles or motorcycles.
"We are in close touch with all our riders on PMDs, and will continue to speak to them and do more to support them and their moving needs," said a Deliveroo spokesperson.
"For instance, we are currently in discussions with potential bike-sharing companies about potential partnerships."
"They have genuine concerns, (about their) livelihood and income, and of course all the other related issues," said Mr Lee.
Mr Lee said the riders' concerns included not being able to pay off their PMDs installations and being unable to obtain e-bikes or other vehicles that would allow them to continue working.
Also at MPS were representatives from various e-scooter retailers, who presented a letter to Mr Lee on behalf of more than 30 businesses.
They called on authorities to allow the use of PMDs on roads, with speeds capped at 25kmh, and to convert more footpaths to shared paths.
Mr Lee told those at the MPS that their concerns would be reported to the Ministry of Transport and Land Transport Authority on Friday.
“These are Singaporeans with genuine concerns. The rules are intended to safeguard Singaporeans who use pedestrians as walkways. So there are trade-offs, the rules have been put in place for a reason, ”he said.
Meanwhile, volunteers would attend to riders who had concerns that needed to be addressed immediately.
"They are asking from MSF (Ministry of Social and Family Development), so we want to make sure if they have urgent concerns about their livelihood, we will be in a position to help them," he said.
Mr Jacki Ng, from Eko Life retailer, said he was hopeful the regulations could be modified in such a way as to allow riders and pedestrians to share safely paths.
"Hopefully they (MOT) will address the issues," said the 43-year-old.
Rider P K Satria said he hoped any changes to the regulations could be made soon, adding that pedestrians were giving him dirty looks even when he rode on cycling paths, where the use of e-scooters is allowed.
READ: E-scooter riders gather to voice frustration over ban at Ang Mo Kio meeting
The 21-year-old, who has worked with GrabFood for two years, said public tends to view e-scooter riders as "bad people who cause trouble, accidents and mishaps".
“They forget that as delivery riders, we go out to deliver their food and give them the best service we can. Because at the end of the day, we just want to go home and put food on the table for our families, "he said.
Mr Lee's MPS is the third in recent days to be attended by e-scooter riders concerned about the new law.
On Tuesday, about 30 delivery riders met with Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam at a session in his Chong Pang ward of Nee Soon GRC.
On Wednesday, about 50 riders showed up at the MPS for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Teck Ghee ward, in Ang Mo Kio GRC.