Atish Kahar, who works for an online food delivery service, was fined on Monday afternoon by the Vadodara traffic police for not wearing a helmet. His employer fined him an additional Rs 400 for violating traffic rules and arguing with a police constable. Kahar claimed the traffic police confiscated his employee ID and he could not work that day. The 18-year-old was among the 97 delivery boys who were fined by the traffic police on Monday alone for violating traffic rules.
“They took a photograph and said they will send a memo to my home. When I argued that I had to go for a delivery they complained to my boss. I didn’t earn anything and ended up paying extra,” said Kahar.
A deliveryman on an average earns between Rs 35-60 per delivery and, depending on their performance, they earn an incentive over the week or month. Azharuddin Pathan, 33, who worked as an air conditioner technician before joining the online food delivery services, says their uniform makes them stand out while in traffic. “This was an offseason as a technician and working as a rider pays better, that is why I joined here. I was not fined, many of my friends were. We are easily identifiable with the dress code and the huge bag. Others commuters without helmets were not held but we were. Many of us decided that we won’t wear the tee shirt since it differentiates us from the crowd, but then if we don’t wear the tee shirt we will be fined Rs 400 by the company. Most of the times we are in a hurry because we have to deliver the food on time and at times even the customer gets upset. Our incentives depend upon our performance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police, traffic division, Yashpal Jhangania says off late they have been receiving a number of complaints against the delivery boys for rash driving and violating traffic rules. “We had received a lot of complaints in the last couple of days and so we decided to fine them. We will also be serving notices to individual companies that provide these online food delivery services that they should too at their levels begin taking actions and sensitise their rider base about traffic rules and road safety,” he said.
“With deadline and time constraints, they tend to violate the rules, drive on the wrong side or at a higher speed to meet the deadline, which includes food perforation and the distance to be travelled. But still, we would expect them to follow these rules and abide by them. It safe not only for them but other commuters on the road as well,” Jhanganiya added.
Vadodara had seen a spike in the number of online food delivery apps in the last few months with multiple food delivery services in the fray. Unlike pizza outlets like Dominos, which have a fixed 30-minute delivery deadline, most online delivery apps specify the stipulated time of delivery which is calculated based on the time taken for preparation of the food at the restaurant and the distance from the restaurant to the customer. If the rider fails to deliver the order within the expected time, which may vary from 30 minutes to an hour, the order qualifies as a delayed order.
A Zomato official said, “Vehicle, Driving licence, Helmet and Pan Card are the basic documents and a must have for any rider to go ahead with further training. As and when they are inducted into our rider base we even show them a video that tells them about how a Zomato rider is expected to conduct himself which includes the traffic rules and road safety norms as well. Apart from that our central office at Delhi carries out SMS blast and sends SMSes to every rider about the same. At our level, we keep trying and we expect them to follow these basic rules too. It’s for their safety.”
Another official at UberEats, online food delivery services told this newspaper, which has a rider base of around 200-300, “Traffic rules are a must and every rider is beforehand asked to abide by these rules. From our end we provide an insurance to every rider and most of them are hired through contracts, so most of our instructions to the riders pass through the contractor.’
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