On Nov. 11 evening, food delivery riders gathered at Block 856, Tampines St 82, to meet Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the Meet-the-People Session (MPS).
About 30 personal mobility device (PMD) riders from various food delivery companies were present at the MPS held in Tampines GRC, where Heng is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the ward.
Affected PMD riders sceptical about grant
Mothership spoke to a handful of riders present at the MPS, who voiced their concerns regarding the ban, and their opinion about the announcement of the grant by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday, Nov. 8.
Some riders simply wanted an explanation on the abrupt ban, while others hoped for e-scooters to be allowed on footpaths again.
Outcome of feedback session with DPM Heng
After roughly 45 minutes in a closed-door feedback session with Heng, the riders came out with mixed expressions, some smiling, while others looking more grim.
Mothership approached the riders, asking about their feelings after the talk with their MP.
Most riders present at the MPS had expressed their opinion about the recent ban, but many were reluctant to reveal their identity.
A woman, 22, and her husband, 28, who want to remain unnamed, shared that their fellow riders had expressed their concerns and suggestions about the issue to DPM Heng.
"DPM Heng had a feedback session with us, so we (riders) gave suggestions such as licensing (of PMDs and e-scooters) and setting an age requirement of 21 and above for buyers," she shared with us.
She also shared her concerns explaining why bicycles were not a suitable replacement for e-scooters.
“Our (licensed) e-scooters are the same speed as power-assisted bicycles and regular bicycles, or possibly slower. The only difference is that they can ride on roads,” she said.
“But roads are dangerous for us riders, and if everyone switched to bicycles, they would flood the (cycling) paths as well.”
Wanted authorities to understand them
Other riders also shared similar concerns, but they wanted the authorities to understand the concerns of riders and the challenges they faced.
Another rider who wanted to remain unnamed, told Mothership that Heng had explained to the riders that PMDs and e-scooters were a safety hazard.
However, he also griped that some pedestrians were also threatening their safety, citing examples of some of his friends who have been attacked.
He added that he had been riding along the cycling path in Tampines a few days ago, when a pedestrian threatened to punch him, causing him to slip and scrape his knee.
"MPs are afraid that we'll knock into people, and they'll die.”
“If they attack us, we'll just be injured. But that doesn't change the fact that people are (physically) attacking us," he lamented.
Another rider shared with Mothership that they had encountered incidents where children would suddenly dash into their line of sight, and riders are unable to control such accidents.
"Sometimes children get hurt because they would pop out of nowhere. Some (parents) don't take care of their children properly, so how can you blame riders when children appear out of nowhere, without warning?" he explained.
At the end of the session, many riders left to return home, or continued with their deliveries, at about 11pm.
Most of them left without an answer to their questions, still wondering about the future of their jobs as food delivery riders.
Top image by Rachel Ng