The three major food delivery companies in Singapore have said that should a safety deadline for personal mobility devices (PMDs) be brought forward, they will ensure their riders comply with it.
Food delivery firms to ensure PMD riders adhere to fire safety standard if deadline brought forward The three major food delivery companies in Singapore said they have measures in place to ensure their riders use personal mobility devices that are certified safe by the Land Transport Authority.PHOTO:ST FILE

The deadline is for the PMDs to meet prescribed safety standards and those who fail to comply by end-2020 will be banned from using their PMDs on public paths.

Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood also told The Straits Times on Thursday (July 25) that they have measures in place to ensure their riders use PMDs that are certified safe by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The LTA had said on Tuesday that it is reviewing the Dec 31, 2020 deadline to ban PMDs without the UL2272 certification, in the light of recent fire incidents related to the charging of non-certified devices.

Last week, a 40-year-old man died in such an incident in Bukit Batok and early this week, a flat in Ang Mo Kio was gutted by fire that was probably caused by a PMD that was being charged.

The UL2272 standard is a set of safety requirements covering the electrical drive train system of PMDs, including the battery system. Devices that conform with the standards would be significantly safer against fire and electrical hazards, LTA said.

Devices classified as PMDs include kick scooters, electric scooters, unicycles and hoverboards, but most riders use e-scooters.

Their registration became compulsory from the start of this month and from Jan 1, 2021, those not certified will be banned from public paths.

Most of the 85,000 e-scooters registered here do not have the UL2272-certification, as many users had bought them before the UL2272 requirement was announced in September last year.

These non-certified devices have a lower price, greater power and can travel longer distances that those that are certified.

Observers, like MP Lee Bee Wah, have suggested that food delivery companies make bulk purchases of LTA-compliant e-scooters to sell them at a lower price to their riders, who depend on e-scooters for a living.

Two of the companies - Grab and Foodpanda Singapore - said riders already have the option to rent certified e-scooters.

Grab said riders delivering GrabFood orders can rent them from the company at below-market rates.

"Grab welcomes LTA's review of the deadline to ensure safety. We will support our GrabFood delivery partners if the deadline is brought forward," a spokesman said.

It declined to disclose the size of its group of riders or the number who use PMDs.

Foodpanda Singapore managing director Luc Andreani said PMD users make up 30 per cent of its riders, who can rent the certified scooters from shared e-scooter company Beam at Foodpanda's central rider hub in Dhoby Ghaut.

Deliveroo said that should the deadline for PMDs to be UL2272-certified be brought forward, "we will comply and ensure our riders have the necessary certifications for their devices well ahead of the deadline."

Meanwhile, it has encouraged all its riders to obtain certified PMDs ahead of the end-2020 deadline. It has 6,000 riders, 5 per cent of whom use PMDs or power-assisted bikes as their mode of transport.

Those who ride an unregistered e-scooter on public paths can be fined up to $2,000 and jailed for up to three months for their first offence.

Deliveroo and Grab said all their PMD riders have registered their machines with LTA. Foodpanda said riders who signed up from this month have to give their PMD's registration number.

Mr Andreani said its existing riders have been told of the urgency to register their PMDs and "any rider found without a LTA-registered vehicle will not be allowed to continue as part of Foodpanda's rider fleet".