Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

TL;DR – Yes and then no.

Walao! It’s the government’s fault lah!”

I grumbled when my GrabFood order got cancelled on the same day the ban of electric scooters on public footpaths kicked in last week.

I lost my head in the heat of the moment because I was hungry, totally forgot that I was one of the many Singaporeans who had previously supported the ban of the PMDs (personal mobility devices).

Now, don’t get me wrong. While I’m glad that the PMDs are banned and I still stand by my opinion that the ban is necessary, I really do empathise with the PMD food delivery riders, whose livelihood has been disrupted overnight as a result of the ban.

Before we start cursing the authorities and blame them for the ban, let me just gently remind everyone that the ban is not exactly the authorities’ fault.

Remember that fatal incident where an elderly woman died in a collision with an electric scooter?

We raged against the government, questioning why they didn’t just ban these PMDs, there were even petitions calling for PMD ban.

We asked, they answered.

So, is it really the government’s fault that the PMDs are now banned? Not really.

If there is anyone to blame, it should be the irresponsible and reckless black sheep amongst the PMD riders.

For context, we know that there’re over 100,000 registered PMDs in Singapore, and there are about 7,000 food delivery riders.

So what about the livelihood of these innocent and law-abiding PMD food delivery riders? Is it fair to impose a blanket ban?

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Fret not, the authorities are stepping in to help.

In case you don’t already know, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has announced that together with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), a Transition Assistance Package (TAP) will be set in place to support food delivery riders who have been affected by the ban.

This initiative came after scores of food delivery riders showed up at various Meet-The-People-Sessions (MPS) to seek help from ministers and MPs last week.

And here’s what the package comprises of:

$7 million e-scooter Trade-in Grant (eTG)

The authorities have worked with the three food delivery companies (GrabFood, Deliveroo, and FoodPanda) to set up a $7 million e-scooter Trade-in Grant (eTG). Under this scheme, the affected food delivery riders will be provided with funding assistance for them to switch to bicycles, Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) or Personal Mobility Aids (PMAs).

LTA will also match dollar-for-dollar the food delivery companies’ funding support for their food delivery riders who trade in their existing e-scooters for alternative LTA-approved devices.

Each rider will also receive an eTG of up to $1,000 for PABs or $600 for bicycle.

For delivery riders with mobility difficulties who are eligible to use PMAs and wish to continue working for their delivery company, they will receive an eTG of up to $1,000 as well.

Career switch assistance and job search support

Affected riders who wish to consider other job options can approach the NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), at which they will be provided with jobs options and career advice.

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NTUC Assistant Director-General Ang Hin Kee, who is also NTUC U FSE (Freelancers and Self-Employed) director, said in his Facebook post that the U FSE will also be looking to see how to organise this group of food delivery riders to ensure that their needs are looked after in the long run.

Alternatively, riders can also seek for help through Workforce Singapore (WSG) under the Adapt and Grow initiative.

Temporary financial assistance

For riders who may have immediate financial difficulties, there are temporary financial assistance schemes available from the Ministry of Social and Family Development and ComCare as well.

Affected riders may also approach the nearest Social Service Office or People’s Association Community Club for assistance.

Think about it – is taking away their PMDs equivalent to taking away the livelihood of the delivery riders?

Not necessary.

Because for all you know, this might be a good opportunity for them to seek a better career path and make changes for a better life.