Raging against e-scooter ban, delivery riders confront MPs on their own turf

GrabFood, Foodpanda and other couriers gather Wednesday evening in Ang Mo Kio, at left. At right, a Tuesday night meeting with MP and Law Minister K Shanmugam in Yishun. Photos: SG PMD Riders Unite!/Telegram, Dennis Yong/Facebook
GrabFood, Foodpanda and other couriers gather Wednesday evening in Ang Mo Kio, at left. At right, a Tuesday night meeting with MP and Law Minister K Shanmugam in Yishun. Photos: SG PMD Riders Unite!/Telegram, Dennis Yong/Facebook

Singapore’s food delivery couriers are making their grievances over the e-scooter ban heard by government officials at their neighborhood meetups. So far they’ve traveled en mass to at least two sessions to confront members of parliament.

Last night, a large group of 50 deliverymen turned up in the Teck Ghee area of the Ang Mo Kio constituency led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Though the prime minister was not there to hear them out, conversations in Telegram channels show riders saying they may visit more sessions such as one this evening in Yio Chu Kang with MP Koh Poh Koon, another on Tuesday in Toa Payoh with Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, and even a third Monday evening in Sembawang with Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

“Guys … next week Tuesday 12th Nov Toa Payoh Meet MP Session … 7pm meet at Toa Payoh Central … come and support … the more the merrier,” a Danny wrote on the SG PMD Riders Unite! Telegram channel. 

‘You are the hazard!’: Singapore’s e-scooter riders lash out at ban

They’re taking advantage of MPs’ “Meet-The-People” sessions, where they can communicate directly with residents living in their constituencies, to air their frustrations with the week-old blanket ban imposed on e-scooters from all sidewalks. Those who violate the ban risk a S$2,000 (US$1,790) fine or three months in jail.

The first such meeting attended by delivery personnel is believed to have been Tuesday night, when about 30 of them arrived at a session in Yishun and crowded around MP and Law Minister K Shanmugam to air their concerns, according to photos circulating online yesterday. 

Shanmugam yesterday confirmed having a “civil meeting” with the couriers, hours after photos of him surrounded by a crowd of mostly GrabFood riders made their way online. 

About 30 PMD riders came to see me at my Meet-the-People Session. I met three of them in my Branch office … As it was an open area, I told them to come closer around me so that we can hear each other better,” Shanmugam wrote on Facebook. 

The group explained to him their stand and the difficulties they face in light of the abrupt ban, which Shanmugam said he would convey to the transport ministry and cabinet ministers, he added. 

There are about 100,000 registered e-scooters in Singapore and around 7,000 of them are being used to deliver food. The three major food delivery firms in Singapore are Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and GrabFood. On Tuesday, a day after the ban was announced, more than 100 riders were issued warnings, the Land Transport Authority revealed. 

Other than rolling up – or pushing up – on neighborhood meetups, more than 20,000 have signed an online petition urging the government to lift the ban. 

This footpath ban is essentially a de facto ban on the use of PMDs. The bike paths and PCNs are not continuous and it does not connect point to point … Banning them on footpaths and not giving viable alternatives will essentially wipe out any practical use of PMDs and along with it, the source of income for many Singaporeans,” read part of the online petition started by a Siti binte Rahmat.

 

Related:

‘You are the hazard!’: Singapore’s e-scooter riders lash out at ban

Dropping banhammer, Singapore forbids e-scooters on all footpaths

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