Neuron Mobility introducing e-scooters in KL but DBKL says 'hold it!'

By THE STAR | 2 May 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Electric or e-scooters are uncommon here unlike in some other cities around the world.

But this may change as the e-scooter sharing service is now available here, promising to provide last mile connectivity for public transport users.

City folk may have seen people trying out the bright orange electric vehicles, in selected areas, over the past month.

While most find it a good alternative to walking, there are limitations to using an e-scooter.


“It is easy to use the e-scooter. I only needed 10 to 15 minutes to learn how to ride it,” said Tan Ying Thong, 15.

However, he found it difficult to manoeuvre the vehicle in the busy Bukit Bintang area.

Ginny Poh, 15, said e-scooters were ideal for short distances.

“It is convenient and easy to pay for the ride. The only problem is when it rains,” she said.

David Chan, 28, found the service useful, especially in the city.

“However, I am a little concerned about knocking into someone on the pedestrian walkway,” he said. Testing the waters

Neuron Mobility, a Singapore-based company, introduced the service to Kuala Lumpur following a successful trial run in Cyberjaya.


The expansion to Kuala Lumpur is aimed at providing reliable and comfortable short distance mobility in the city, Neuron Mobility chief executive officer Zachary Wang said.

He said there was positive feedback on the service in Cyberjaya where users comprised a mix of students, office workers as well as those using it for leisure. “The Malaysian market is ready for it, especially in dense cities.

“E-scooters are ideal for travel of more than 1km in the city,” he said, adding that the company had expanded its service to Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand.

Neuron Mobility uses real-time telematics, a proprietary supply chain and predictive analytics.

The company has deployed e-scooters in areas like Masjid Jamek, Lot 10, KLCC, Bukit Nanas and Berjaya Times Square.


“The first stage was to see whether the technology worked in Malaysia by first introducing it in Cyberjaya while the second stage is about providing solutions to congestion problems in the city.

“Right now, we are focusing on raising awareness of the e-scooters and educating riders to use them the right way, including parking at designated places.

“Having these scooters available at the right place at the right time will encourage more people to use them,” Wang said.

Although the failed oBike and the present e-scooters are both meant for short distances as well as providing last mile connectivity, Wang said the latter’s technology and approach was different.Ideal for short trips

“We see them as an enabler. There are limits to how fast and far one can walk and e-scooters are an ideal urban transport solution.“E-scooters allow users to access places within the neighbourhood that they may not necessarily go to otherwise.


“For example, most would hesitate if the nearest convenience store is a 20-minute walk but with an e-scooter, they may consider going to the store. “It provides better accessibility to amenities and benefits local businesses.

“We have worked with local businesses in Bangkok to give incentives and discounts to people who ride an e-scooter to their establishment,” he said.

A small fleet of the e-scooter sharing service was introduced in mid-March here.

To date, there are more than 15,000 users and 95% have given it a four-and-five-star rating, said Wang.

The introductory price is RM1 and the rate goes up by 20 sen per minute.

It also comes with a daily, weekly or monthly fee of RM9, RM38 and RM98, respectively.

“For safety purposes, we have a speed limit of 15kph which is similar to running.“Users should preferably be 16 years old and above but there is no age limit.

“We charge the scooters and check on the brakes regularly,” Wang said, adding that the e-scooters were fitted with GPS.


One trend the company has noticed from the data collected is that users in Kuala Lumpur stay up a little later compared to other cities. There is also anecdotal evidence that people have stopped driving short distances, he said.

“We hope to expand the service so that people in other Malaysian cities can benefit,” said Wang.

To locate an e-scooter, customers will need to download the Neuron - Escooter Sharing mobile application to rent an e-scooter.

E-scooters icons shown in the application indicate their location. Payment is by way of debit or credit card.

In a related development, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) wants Neuron to get proper permits before operating in the city.

DBKL executive director (socio-economic development) Datuk Ibrahim Yusoff said no permits were issued to any company to operate e-scooters in the city.

“I am asking the company providing e-scooter rides to stop operating for now and apply for a permit first. We have to see whether e-scooters are a feasible mode of transportation in the city.

“DBKL has to determine suitable areas to park the vehicles, permitted routes, operational aspects as well as the safety of e-scooter users, motorists and pedestrians. We do not want it to be like oBike,” he said.


“Right now, DBKL is advising the company not to leave the e-scooters in public areas but if this persists, we can seize the scooters. “If the service is found to be suitable, DBKL will consider issuing a permit,” he said.

Neuron Mobility said in a statement that it was working closely with the authorities to operate the service.

“We believe that our service provides an affordable and convenient transport option for short distances which will help reduce congestion in the city,” the company said.