Life after PMD

By December 12, 2019Current, People

TL;DR – Eventually, we all moved on. (Maybe just not on the footpath anymore)

Life stood still for many after the announcement of the ban of Electric Scooters or more commonly known as PMD (Personal Mobility Device) on footpaths was announced on 5th November 2019.

I guess most riders went through the typical 5 stages of grief – denialangerbargainingdepression and acceptance. I am sure we have all seen some of the very angry bargaining videos uploaded online.

So where are we at now?

We interviewed a Grab Food Delivery Rider, Mr Oh, to find out more.

Q: How long have you been a Grabfood delivery rider? 

A: Almost 18 months with Grab. 

Q: What happened after the ban? 

A: No income lor. I did not take jobs for around three weeks. 

Q: We heard that some delivery riders still carried on to work with PMDs because the authorities will mainly issue warnings to errant riders. The so-called zero-tolerance approach will only start from next year.

A: I don’t dare. Some of the “Green Men” (Grab’s very own team of enforcers) they also feel for us and close one eye. The dangerous ones are pedestrians. They started treating riders like criminals and some even threatened to report police. I don’t want any trouble lah. It is just a job. 

Q: Three weeks without income. That’s no joke leh. Then how leh? 

A: Then I switched to a bicycle to do my deliveries. 

Q: Are your earnings affected? 

A: Confirm affected lah. I was doing an average of around 20 to 25 jobs per day on my PMD previously. When I first switched to bicycle, only around 6 to 7 jobs per day. Cos too tiring on bicycle. Now two weeks in, I got a bit better at it, so now around 10 to 12 jobs. But still cannot lah, not enough. 

Q: Did you apply for any of the available funding and help? 

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A: Yup. Grab and some of the other organizations have been helpful. I applied for the e-Scooter Trade-In Grant (eTG) and also to be an NTUC member and got the short-term relief fund.

Q: Did these help? 

A: Yes of course. Free money mah. I used the short-term relief fund to buy food and all. 

Q: Did you still need to fork out more cash for your new device after eTG? 

A: I chose the most basic e-bike. It’s $900+ only. The eTG gave me up to $1,000. Just have to pay upfront. No problem. Don’t need to buy those fancy ones. Most important is safety. Better switch to an e-bike, a lot less tedious compared to a bicycle.

Q: Looks like you are going to continue to be a food delivery rider for a longer time? 

A: Ya. Actually, with NTUC e2i’s help, I got other job offers. But those jobs were not something I want to do. I like the flexibility of being a delivery rider. Do you want more money? You work harder. On days you want to take a break and spend time with your family, you just work harder tomorrow. You have control over your earnings. That is what I like about it as compared to my previous jobs where you just have a fixed salary. 

Q: Have you signed up for any courses? 

A: Yes. I’ve signed up for the “Delivery Rider Kit” course. Although it is not mandatory and it is a few days’ course, I think it is quite important and useful to attend courses. It is funded and we also get attendance allowance for attending the courses. And for people like myself, cause I joined NTUC and am now a union member, I get even more allowances during the course. The course will start in Jan 2020 for me.  

Q: So what do you think about the new announcement about the need to take a theory test and also a minimum age of 16 to use such mobility devices even on bicycle lanes?  

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A: The theory test will be best for our safety if we going to ride PABs on the road. But the theory will benefit us even more if PMDs is allowed back on a footpath. We get to have a licence like drivers to prove that we know what we are doing so we can ride again on footpaths.

Seems like Mr Oh is one of those riders who managed to adapt quickly by tapping on to whatever resources that were being offered by the different organizations. That is pretty much how life is, is it not? It is about adapting to time and making full use of the available resources.

I guess the only constant in life is change.

About Delivery Rider Kit 

The kit comprises five individual one-day courses covering topics related to safety, service, digital skills and mindset change. Riders can opt for all five courses or select those they wish to attend.

The courses include:

  • Starting My PAB Journey – Prepares riders for a changing work landscape
  • Digital and Me – Raises awareness of current and emerging technology trends that can impact the work of delivery riders
  • Service from Me – Teaches riders how to engage customers in a positive way and win their trust and support
  • Safe Riding on Pedal and Power-Assisted Bicycles – Teaches practical skills, rules and codes of conduct while riding on roads and other approved pathways
  • Safety for All – Covers standard basic first-aid skills in handling incidents during duty

Each course is up to seven hours long, with up to 90% of the course fees and training allowances supported by SSG, WSG, NTUC and Land Transport Authority (LTA).

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Additional Funding Support

Delivery platform providers will also be coming on board to co-fund part of the fees for their riders. GrabFood is the first delivery company on board this programme and they will provide additional funding for their riders so that the courses are complimentary.

Riders who are NTUC union members will also receive additional funding support.

Expected to benefit some 2,000 riders over the next few months, riders can apply for the Delivery Rider Kit either through NTUC’s e2i or their relevant delivery platform providers.


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Smith Leong

Author Smith Leong

Social Media Trainer @ NTUC | Youth Mentor | Labour Champion | Photographer | Content Creator |

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