When we heard about electric scooters in Singapore, we knew we had to give them a try. As we walked home from dinner, dripping in sweat, we saw people whizzing around on them, and it looked like a lot of fun, as well as a less sweaty way to get around in the Singapore heat. There are several companies which operate electric scooter sharing across Singapore, with scooters left in marked parking areas and corresponding mobile apps to help you find and rent the scooters. This sounds simple enough, but like many things in life it proved more difficult than expected. It took downloading three different company’s apps until we found one that worked (for the record it was Neuron if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament).
We find two scooters near out hotel, and with quick scan of the barcode we are on our way (well in theory; in practice it took four scans and one manual entry of the barcode, but still, we got on our way). A quick scoot in a nearby open area teaches us the simple controls, a handbrake like on a bicycle to stop, a thumb lever to start and a switch to change between the fast/slow modes.
We set off towards our first destination, a busy hawker centre. Scooting was very straightforward until we hit the lunchtime rush, leaving us with limited room to manoeuvre, while forcing us to try and keep our balance while moving extremely slowly. We also had to contend with some gutters and stairs, as it turns out, electric scooters are surprisingly heavy if you need to lift them. We park the scooters at what we believe is the designated parking area according to the app (since we were never charged the additional $5 fee for parking in a non-designated area, we can only assume we left them in the right spot). As a nice extra feature, the app encourages you to take a picture of the scooter to make it easier for the next person to locate.
That afternoon we have some time to kill before we make our way back to the airport, and we decide to have a scoot around the Gardens by the bay and the Formula 1 track. Once we are out of the crowds, we have a chance to put the scooters on the highest speed setting and have some real fun. The speed rules for electric scooters in 8km on footpaths and 20km on cycle paths – making a ride on a cycle path a much more exhilarating experience!
It is with considerable difficulty that we get the scooters to the Gardens by the bay (I’m not sure if you are meant to take the scooters into an elevator, but there were certainly no signs saying you couldn’t, and Singapore loves signs!). We’re only scooting there for a few minutes before a security guard stops us and cautions us in no uncertain terms that one cannot scoot through the garden paths, instead directing us to the larger perimeter cycle path. It’s a fun path to hoon around on, and along it we manage to find a way out of the gardens that doesn’t require a complicated return journey in the elevator.
The entire electric scooter experience ended up costing around $15 AUD, which felt reasonable for the enjoyment we had and the general prices in Singapore. You will need to have access to mobile data in order to use any of the e-scooter apps. There were also a few companies renting electric scooters by the hour near the Marina Bay Sands, which were much more expensive and required you to return to the same location (but don’t require mobile access). Singapore is currently implementing stricter electric scooting rules and requirements, but hopefully it doesn’t result in the removal of the electric scooter sharing schemes.