Among many things the last year has taught us, one of the more powerful is that tough times reveal the truth. Isolation, unemployment, and lockdown consumed our lives, making us all more dependent upon deliveries from online businesses that were merely trying to survive. The whole world rallied together to support small and local businesses like never before. But where were we when the delivery drivers, the very people who made our shopping compulsions a reality, needed us?
The stress of the pandemic compounded by the frustration caused by late and incomplete orders does not make for a good mix between on-the-edge customers and overworked, underpaid delivery drivers. Let’s consider those drivers for a moment. They are part of a burgeoning and increasingly heartless gig economy that offers little in the way of job satisfaction, benefits, and income security. Exploitation is commonplace, and couriers’ lives are hijacked by paymasters who know they can boost profits on the back of subminimum wages and shameful working conditions.
Freelance drivers are on their own. They have nowhere to look for support. They often do not receive enough work for a living wage or work from dawn ‘til dusk for mere subsistence. Schedules are so punishing that they often go hungry while delivering food. Heaped on top of all this are other banes such as a lack of transparency in their role and many harsh penalties for a range of issues that are frequently outside their control.
Unfortunately, where the COVID-19 pandemic has made situations challenging for many, it has only served to make matters worse for last-mile delivery couriers. Rising unemployment across the board has led to a glut of drivers, pushing wages down further; however, simultaneously, workloads have seen a considerable surge. At Ryde, we thought this exploitation had gone on long enough, so we asked ourselves, “Isn’t it time riders were treated with basic human dignity?”
There is no denying that last-mile delivery is a competitive industry, but does this mean that delivery professionals are undeserving of a voice? Don’t they have the right to be freed from the fear of being replaced if they do not reach unrealistic standards?
We believe that when riders and drivers are treated right and respected, it trickles down and improves the buying experience for our partners’ customers. We are working to create a safe space for our riders to enjoy the work they do while feeling appreciated and protected. Being riders first means communicating better, offering transparent and fair pay, optimising delivery routes and even providing on the job perks and a live support team to make work a breeze through a single, centralised app.
Your voices have been heard. Ryde is here to give the last-mile delivery industry a much-needed makeover and put riders in control of more than just their vehicles. Care to join the revolution?