E-Scooter Services by NTUitive-incubated Startup Telepod Extended to National University of Singapore (NUS)
Date: 02 Oct 2017
SINGAPORE — Telepod, the homegrown e-scooter sharing start-up, expanded its services to the National University of Singapore (NUS) last week. This comes on the heels of an ongoing trial at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that has been doing well, its marketing officer said on Thursday (Sept 28).
There are eight e-scooters in NUS, with seven designated parking zones on the campus where users can pick up and drop off their e-scooters.
Users have to scan a QR code on the e-scooter to unlock it, and can only end their trip by scanning a QR code at a designated zone.
Telepod – founded by five NTU alumni – launched 20 e-scooters on the NTU campus in the first two weeks of its trial, which began in late August. It hopes to have a total of 100 e-scooters in NTU by early November.
The ongoing trial, which aims to help students get around its sprawling campus, is part of a larger mobility testbed being run in NTU.
There are currently 10 designated parking zones for the e-scooters there, and Telepod hopes to expand that in the coming months, its marketing officer Shakir Othman told TODAY.
“Response has been really positive,” he added. “This sort of thing in NTU is good for residents on campus and getting around in general, especially around Lee Wee Nam Hall – walking may take very long.”
The testbed – a collaboration between NTU, JTC Corporation and rail operator SMRT – will include e-scooters, bicycles, and autonomous vehicles, integrated with existing campus shuttle buses and MRT networks.
NTU undergraduates whom TODAY spoke to said that while the e-scooter sharing scheme is attractive and provides an alternative to current transport modes on the campus, it may be dangerous and also comes at a price, literally.
Mechanical engineering student Goh Yong Kang, 23, who has used the e-scooter three times, said that he would use it more if it was cheaper.
“It’ll be cheaper to take the campus shuttle buses if you’re not in a rush, since they’re free of charge,” he added.
Users currently pay S$1 for every 10 minutes, as well as a refundable deposit of S$49. Mr Shakir said that the company is “looking to see if we can offer more affordable pricing”.
Mr Hillary Tan, a communication studies student, said that he was almost struck by students using the e-scooters around a campus canteen.
“It’s nice to have a smaller alternative to bikes, but that time I almost got hit, the two guys on the scooter seemed to be racing,” said the 24-year-old. “Users should at least make sure there’s no one else in the way, or on the same pavement, before they do that.”
Business student Lee Xin Yi, 21, has used the e-scooter once to get from the Sports and Recreation Centre, where she works out every week, back to her hall of residence.
That cut her usual walking time of 20 minutes by about half, but she noted that first-time users like herself would have some trouble getting used to it.
“I think it’s quick to pick up and it saves (users’) time, but we must be careful of traffic and others around us when using it… That said, it’s a good initiative and more students can benefit from it,” she added.
Telepod has also launched its e-scooter sharing service at the Central Business District area and the one-north business district.
“We’re looking to test our hypothesis whether there’s demand in university and polytechnic campuses, as evident with our NTU stations,” Mr Shakir said.
A Singapore Management University spokesperson said that SMU does not have an e-scooter sharing scheme, and there are no plans to have one.