Suntec City, NTU to begin e-scooter trials

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SINGAPORE: The first electric scooter-sharing trials in Singapore are set to take place over the next few months, with one starting as soon as Monday (Jun 5) at Suntec City.

The project involves local start-up Telepod, which is embarking on another trial with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as well.

NTU TO BEGIN E-SCOOTER TRIAL BY JULY

From next month, 50 e-scooters will be available at three locations on the NTU campus – CleanTech Park, Research Techno Plaza and North Hill Residences.

Another 50 scooters will be added by October when transport operator SMRT comes on board.

This is part of a collaboration between NTU, SMRT and JTC, to develop solutions that integrate multiple modes of transport.

NTU said the e-scooter sharing scheme will be free for a start.

“If you look at mobility options on campus, there is an internal shuttle bus that runs in both directions. But that usually runs during the day time; the mobility options really fade (during) off-peak hours or if you (look at) weekends,” said Prof Subodh Mhaisalkar, executive director of the Energy Research Institute at NTU.

“So how do you supplement (this) with personal mobility devices at off-peak hours, or at odd hours – (this) is really the main (issue) that we are trying to tackle.”

But the university said it was also mindful of recent reports of shared bikes being parked indiscriminately.

“Initially we are testing a system with docks, primarily because that will allow the scooters to be returned at a set location. There is some concern … if you have a dockless system, people would leave the scooters where they could not be easily traced or not easily retrieved,” said Prof Subodh. He added that the school is considering trying a dockless system later on.

When asked about how it intends to ensure the scooters are used safely, Prof Subodh said communication will be key. He noted NTU intends to provide safety instructions to all who sign up for the scheme, as well as pointers on how to ride on footpaths that are shared with other users.

SUNTEC CITY STARTS FOUR-MONTH TRIAL FROM JUN 5

Suntec City, meanwhile, will begin a four-month trial with a dockless system on Monday.

Telepod said the scheme will involve 10 scooters for a start, at one location at Suntec Convention Centre, though this could be scaled up depending on demand.

To borrow an e-scooter, users have to download an app and scan a QR code located on the scooter. They have to return the scooter to the designated point and scan a QR code located on the floor.

Telepod’s e-scooters. (Photo: Telepod) 

For now, it will cost users S$1 for every 10 minutes a scooter is used.

Telepod said it also hopes to set up designated zones at Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and nearby MRT stations.

Those Channel NewsAsia spoke with said there could be positives and drawbacks. 

“S$1 is not a lot and it saves time,” said Mr Jimmy Lai, who said he would be keen to try out the new initiative.

“I ride (a motorcycle) and I see a lot of people (on scooters) on the road as well, so that’s dangerous. I don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad,” said Mr M Devar. “But it’s interesting to do something like that, I guess, more people can try something. For S$1, it’s easily accessible.”

JTC TO ANNOUNCE TENDER IN DUE COURSE

In January, JTC Corporation also called for a tender for a bike or e-scooter sharing system at one-north.

JTC told Channel NewsAsia it is reviewing the proposals and will give details when ready.

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