Singapore—A letter, signed by over 100 present and past National University of Singapore (NUS) students was sent to media outlets over the weekend expressing support for food delivery riders in the wake of the e-scooter ban on public footpaths, which was announced in Parliament on November 4.
Many of the letter’s signatories are from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Although it has been two weeks since the announcement of the ban, the issue has remained in the news due to expressions of dissatisfaction with the ban from Personal Mobility Device (PMD) users, mostly food delivery riders from GrabFood, Deliveroo, and FoodPanda, whose livelihoods have been affected by the e-scooter ban.
The students’ letter of support is asking the Government to consider the suggestions food delivery riders have made. Hand in hand with this, it also urges the employers of the food delivery riders to give their affected workers “support and protection during this precarious period”, according to a report from The New Paper (TNP).
These workers, according to the students, do not have regular income and rely almost solely on the work they do daily. Additionally, they lack formal workers’ associations in spite of the dangers that they face in their jobs, as they go out in traffic every day.
The students asked the Government to hold continued dialogues with the food delivery riders and then make “appropriate revisions to the policy”.
The letter reads, “We hope that the government can take in suggestions from the deliverers such as implementing a mandatory licensing regime for PMD deliverers, an extended probation period for the ban, and also look at improving the road infrastructure to better accommodate these riders in the long term.”
Furthermore, the students also said that the employers of food delivery riders may consider adding commissions, which would compensate for income lost due to the need for riders to now use transport that is less speedy than the e-scooters used in the past, which “would also incentivise errant riders to not engage in unsafe behaviour to compensate for a potential loss in earnings.”
In the letter of support, while the students say that no further action is in the works aside from the letter, the signatories have been encouraged to write to their MPs individually concerning their views on the matter if they want to.
Mentioning that switching work is not always feasible, the letter also contains an appeal from the students for the public to sympathize with the food delivery riders.
A survey recently commissioned by the The Sunday Times revealed that fifty percent of these riders earn a a monthly household per capita income income of S$1,500 or less, which places them in the lowest third of the country’s employees. Twenty-five percent of these workers are doing so full-time.
Since the e-scooter ban, many food delivery riders have attended Members of Parliament Meet-the-People (MPS) sessions to express their concerns, including meetings with MP for Nee Soon GRC K Shanmugam, the country’s Home Affairs and Law Minister, as well as with MP for Jurong GRC Desmond Lee, who is also the Minister for Social and Family Development.
The riders have also organised a peaceful rally at Hong Lim Park scheduled for Saturday, November 23, from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Speakers’ Corner. -/TISG