How did Singaporeans react to the PMD ban on footpaths?

By November 13, 2019Current

TL;DR – Not everyone is happy, and not everyone is unhappy.

It has been a week since the PMDs (personal mobility devices) ban on footpaths has officially kicked in. The announcement was met with mixed responses from Singaporeans from all walks of life.

In this post, we attempt to put together some of the reactions and responses from the different quarters of Singapore over the ban of the PMDs.

The Ministry of Transport’s reaction

In response to many food delivery riders raising their concerns over their livelihood fwalkollowing the ban, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) have rolled out a Transition Assistance Package (TAP) to provide comprehensive assistance to support food delivery riders who have been affected by the ban.

NTUC and Workforce Singapore’s reaction

NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) have also risen to the occasion by working with the three food delivery companies (GrabFood, Deliveroo, and FoodPanda) to provide affected delivery riders with jobs options and career advice.

Ministers and Members of Parliament’s (MPs) reactions

Because when sh*t hits the fan, the first thing we must do is to scold the government.

According to reports, since the ban was announced, ministers and MPs have met up with numerous PMD delivery riders who have been turning up at various Meet-The-People-Sessions (MPS) to scold the government voice their concerns.

Industrial Relations Officers (IROs) from NTUC, as well as representatives from NTUC’s e2i,  were also present at the MPS to render support to the affected riders.

We’ve heard from reliable sources that there’s also a chat group set up on the messaging app, Telegram to act as a platform to allow representatives from NTUC to engage and communicate with the affected delivery riders.

In a Facebook post, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that the meeting with the riders at the MPS  last Wednesday (6 Nov) was a good and civil one.

He also said that he would convey the riders’ views to MOT, as well as to the Cabinet.

DPM Heng Swee Keat also had a 45-minutes closed-door session with PMD riders from various food delivery companies at the MPS held in Tampines GRC on Monday (11 Nov).


A dialogue session was also held at Anchorvale Community Club last night (12 Nov), which saw more than 300 food delivery riders and retailers who turned up to meet Dr Lam Pin Min, Sengkang West Member of Parliament and Senior Minister of State for Transport.


It was reported that this MPS had the largest turnout so far.

The pro-PMD supporters’ reactions

Understandably, there will be a group of Singaporeans who are not supportive of the ban, criticising the authorities for the sudden ban.

A petition has been also launched on requesting that the government reverse the PMD ban.

In contrast to this petition which has so far garnered over 8,000 signatures, an opposing petition started in April this year has more than 75,000 people calling for a PMD ban.

The anti-PMD supporters’ reactions

And then we have the happy ones who are in favour of the ban.

The middleground Singaporeans’ reactions

There are also Singaporeans who aren’t exactly against PMDs but think that there should be a win-win solution that can benefit both PMD riders, without compromising the safety of pedestrians.

The “Singaporeans very hard to please” folks’ reactions

And then there are also some netizens who arrived at the conclusion that Singaporeans are basically  hard to please.

PMD delivery riders’ reactions

And of course, we cannot miss out on the PMD delivery riders, whose livelihoods have been impacted.

If you’ve been following the news, you would have probably seen this video of food delivery rider, Kelvin Ho lashing out at Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min over the ban. A quarter-million people have viewed the clip.


Said Kelvin also turned up in almost-a-suit (not hot meh?) at the MPS held in Taman Jurong earlier this week on 11 Nov.


On the same night at the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC MPS, several delivery riders were also seen shouting and lashing out voicing out their concerns over the ban with MP Ong Teng Koon.

By the way, if you’ve a bit of time, some of the comments in this Facebook post make entertaining reading.

It seems delivery riders have also taken to Telegram to air their grievances.

In one particular Telegram group, some delivery riders wanted to “throw” an MP “into the sea”, while another one cited for fellow riders to “boo” at the MP at the end of the MPS.

In another group, one delivery rider even suggested pulling a protest here in Singapore, because “we must be same like hong kong create riots.”

No way.

In response to some of these erm, angry and frustrated delivery riders, netizens have got some words of advice for them as well:

Amidst all the brouhaha over the PMD ban, here’s a level-headed rider who articulate his thoughts well:


I get that the PMD delivery riders are upset. And it’s perfectly normal for them to feel angry and frustrated about the ban because it is affecting their livelihoods. But if you bother reading this, you would realise that the criticism saying that the PMDs were suddenly banned overnight is not entirely true.

Also, what some of them said also left me perplexed… How did they think we survived before these food deliveries became a trend? Did we not eat at all? Some of us used to cook more, and some of us used to walk out and tabao our food ourselves.

Arguably, all this Deliveroo, Foodpanda and Grabfood food deliveries have made our lives much easier. And it’s now clear that a food delivery rider has its perks. The working hours are flexible, the incentives are attractive, and it’s probably the fastest way to earn some good money too – especially considering many of them come from less privileged backgrounds with little education.

However, the painful truth is, the no-brainer job as a food delivery rider is a temporary one and it cannot be a long-term job. It would be only a matter of time before the wonderful incentives the job brings get phased out – just like how the incentive system of the private-hire vehicle (PHV) drivers did. Remember how Grab and Uber drivers were earning $7-8000 when the private ride-hailing apps first came onto the scene? Yes, not sustainable and no job security. Same as this food delivery business.

The best protection for these delivery riders in the long-run would be to place them into jobs with a better prospect that comes with more job stability.

Having said that, if these delivery riders are oh-so-passionate about the delivery job that they cannot switch to another job, the PMD ban shouldn’t even be stopping them from doing the delivery, right?

In fact, they would climb every mountain and swim every ocean just to get delivery done!


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Author JW

I am nice, most of the time!

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