GrabFood seeks understanding as riders adjust to e-scooter ban

Customers may see longer waits, cancelled orders as over 1 in 3 of its riders use e-scooters

Customers should be prepared for longer waits and cancelled orders when a ban on the use of electric scooters on public footpaths kicks in today, said food delivery provider GrabFood.

Grab's GrabFood is one of three major food delivery companies in Singapore, alongside Foodpanda and Deliveroo.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, Grab said that more than one in three of its delivery riders rely on e-scooters to move around.

With the ban, they will now have to consider other modes of transport, which may not be readily available, a Grab spokesman said.

"During this period, we would like to seek consumers' understanding that they may have to wait longer for their orders or may experience an increase in cancellations by delivery partners who may not be able to cover the delivery distance on foot," she added.

There are about 7,000 food delivery riders in Singapore who use e-scooters, the majority believed to be working for Grab.

The firm told ST that it will engage the Government on whether it would be possible to allow riders who have shown responsible riding behaviours to continue using their e-scooters under certain conditions.

Grab will reach out to all affected riders by the end of the week, she said.

Meanwhile, Deliveroo said it will stop working with errant riders who continue to use their e-scooters on footpaths.

A spokesman said: "We anticipate minimal impact on customers' deliveries, given that personal mobility device (PMD) and power-assisted bicycle riders currently constitute 5 per cent of our overall fleet of 6,000 riders."

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min, who announced the tougher regulations in Parliament yesterday, said that the authorities will work with Workforce Singapore (WSG) to help riders who may need to find new jobs as a result of the ban.

In a statement, WSG said it has various programmes and services to help Singaporeans in their job search, "including those who may be affected by this announcement such as food delivery riders who use e-scooters as their main form of transportation".

Job seekers can turn to its MyCareersFuture.sg search portal to look for suitable jobs based on their skills, the agency said.

Part-time food delivery rider Chris Lim, 27, who joined GrabFood about a week ago while still looking for a full-time job, is "really unhappy" about the ban.

He paid $949 for an e-scooter so that he could do more deliveries with less effort compared with using a bicycle.

"As it is, I am not even earning much. With the implementation of the ban, I will earn even less," said Mr Lim, adding that with the e-scooter he can do three times more deliveries in the same time than if he were to use a bicycle.

Mr Lim said: "Even if the authorities wanted to ban e-scooters, they should have at least constructed more bicycle pathways first instead of giving just a day's notice."

 
 

The Land Transport Authority also announced yesterday that it has shelved plans to allow e-scooter sharing services in public spaces.

Grab, which also offers e-scooter rental services in areas such as Tai Seng and Katong, said it plans to suspend the scheme over time.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for e-scooter sharing firm Beam said that the team is "dissatisfied and frustrated by the decision to effectively ban PMDs".

Mr Htay Aung, founder of shared bike and e-scooter operator Anywheel, said: "As much as we wanted shared PMDs in Singapore, I think the time is not right yet."

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