Singapore’s land authority announced late Friday afternoon a S$7 million (US$5.1 million) grant to help food delivery riders switch out their now-useless e-scooters for electric bicycles, bicycles, or motorized wheelchairs.
The Land Transport Authority, or LTA, announcement, made just after 5pm, came following a strong backlash to the abrupt ban of e-scooters from sidewalks, including dozens of food couriers who took their grievances directly to government officials this week.
Under the Transition Assistance Package, each rider will receive up to S$1,000 for a power-assisted bicycle or S$600 for a bicycle, while those with disabilities and are eligible to use personal mobility aids can receive up to S$1,000, the authority announced.
The riders can apply for the grants by contacting the food delivery companies they work for – mainly Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood – before Dec. 31.
“We recognize that the ban on the use of e-scooters on footpaths has an impact on food delivery riders, especially those who rely on these devices for their livelihoods,” the authority wrote. “Riders are reminded to ride safely and abide by safety rules, regardless of their mode of transport.”
Government schemes are available for those who need financial assistance, while organizations like the NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute and Workforce Singapore can also help those thinking of switching careers, the authority added.
Delivery riders this week have been hounding Members of Parliament by showing up at neighborhood meetings 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 fine or three months in jail.
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, LTA revealed.
Other than rolling up on neighborhood meetups, tens of thousands have signed an online petition urging the government to lift the ban.
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