Whether or not it’s a good news depends on where you stand when it comes to those motorised kick scooters – yes, the ones most commonly used by food delivery guys. If you think they’re a nuisance, then it’s bad news. If you love them but don’t want to splurge on one, then it’s great news. With the profusion of shared bicycles in the ecosystem, it’s only natural that companies began something ‘different’.
Despite being a small country, we now have three (yes, three) different shared e-scooter operators currently active. The mechanism for renting and using them is similar to the bike-sharing model, except you’ll have to park them at a designated dock once you’re done. For some bizarre reason, they’re all mainly docked in the west:
Telepod is the first e-scooter sharing service in Singapore, and if you’re an NTU student, then you’ve definitely seen them zooming around your campus (the company’s founders are NTU alumni). When these snazzy-looking e-scooters are parked at a pod, they’re freestanding (as opposed to being locked into a charger), which is probably why they get stolen a lot (but they all get returned). The max speed is 25km/h (LTA requirements) and it comes fitted with the usual GPS tracking and alarm systems so they can be remotely disabled when required.
Identify the Scooter: Royal blue in colour, with a black standing base.
Top speed: 25km/h
Cost per ride: $0.09 per minute
The maximum time limit for rental is six hours.
Finding/Parking: To find a scooter, you’ll have to locate a ‘pod’ where they’re docked. There are currently 16 at NTU, 10 at OneNorth, and 15 in the Downtown Core. You can pick a scooter up from one pod and drop it off at another. The number of scooters vary by location; currently there are 150 scooters islandwide.
This shared e-scooter company has a cool feature – scooters are parked at a dedicated grounded dock where they’re charged. This easily solves the problem of theft and sloppy parking (although ironically the docks aren’t drilled to the ground). Every e-scooter and dock is 3G connected, providing real-time data to prevent abuse (among other things). There are also sensors that detect vibrations to alert the team if someone tries to take an e-scooter forcefully. As the founder is an NUS alumni, there are more docks around the campus than anywhere else. Neuron also provides bicycles similar to other bike-sharing companies – though both bicycle and e-scooter rent for the same price.
Identify the Scooter: Black with orange accent (on charging dock).
Top speed: 15km/h
Deposit: $49 (credit card only)
Cost per ride: $0.50 per 15 minutes (same for its bicycles)
The maximum time limit for rental is 24 hours. The company also plans to roll out subscription passes soon. To use their scooters, you have to be 16 or older.
Finding/Parking: To find a scooter, you’ll have to locate a dock where they’re parked. There are currently 7 docks around NUS, 3 docks around Clarke Quay. Once you’re done, return them to any dock to charge the batts. They are planning to have 100 scooters spread across 10 to 15 more stations.
Popscoot is the latest entrant to the e-scooter sharing market. Much like the other two operators, e-scooters can be picked up and dropped off only at fixed docking stations. However, PopScoot’s docking station is more to secure the scooters rather than to charge the units. The bonus is that users can prebook their rides, plus the scooters are foldable.
Identify the Scooter: Grey overall, with pink highlight on the handle and a pink lightning icon on the standing base.
Top speed: 35km/h (LTA speed limit is 25km/h)
Cost per ride: $0.06 per minute; $2 per 30 minutes.
There’s a grace period of 10 minutes free of charge. The scooter runs for 4 hours if fully-charged.
Finding/Parking: To find a scooter, you’ll have to locate a docking station where they’re parked. Once you’re done, you have to return them at a pre-booked station. PopScoot currently has around 60 stations that deployed across 23 locations mostly in the CBD and Jurong area.