To ease snarls in the city, Vadodara traffic police on Monday penalised 97 delivery boys working with online food delivery services for violating various rules under the Motor Vehicles Act. In an additional setback, they were also fined by the city managers for violating the rules.
18-year-old Atish Kahar, who works for Swiggy, was fined for not wearing a helmet.
“They said they will send an e-challan to my house. When I reasoned that I had to go for a delivery, they complained to my boss. I didn’t earn anything and ended up paying extra as my city head also charged me Rs 400,” said Kahar.
The traffic police also allegedly confiscated Kahar’s ID card. During the time he was penalised, he had earned a mere Rs 40 as against an average of Rs 500 in the festive season.
Blaming their company mandated uniforms for making them easy targets compared to other commuters, Azaruddin Pathan, 33, who worked as a technician before joining Zomato, said, “I was not fined but many of my friends were. We are easily identifiable with the dress code and the huge bag. Other commuters without helmets were not held but we were. Many of us decided that we wont wear the t-shirts since it differentiates us from the crowd, but then we will be fined Rs 400 by the company. We are in a hurry because we have to deliver the food on time. Our incentives depend upon our performance.”
The delivery boys earn between Rs 35- 60 per delivery along with an incentive that they get either weekly or monthly, depending on their performance.
Meanwhile, according to traffic police officials, the action was taken following several complaints against delivery boys for rash driving and violation of traffic rules.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic division) Yashpal Jhangania said, “We received a lot of complaints so we decided to fine them. We will serve notices to companies that provide these online food delivery services telling them to take action and sensitise their rider base about traffic and road safety.”
“Due to time constraints, the riders tend to violate rules. They drive on the wrong side or at high speed to meet deadlines. But we would expect them to follow these rules and abide by them. It is not just for their safety but also for other commuters on the road,” Jhanganiya said.
Speaking with The Indian Express, the city operations manager of Zomato said, “Vehicle registration, Driving licence, helmet and Pan Card are a must have for any rider. As and when they are inducted into our rider base, we show them videos to train them on how a Zomato rider is expected to conduct himself, which includes the traffic rules and road safety norms. At our level, we try and we expect them to follow these basic rules. It’s for their own safety.”
An official at UberEats, which has a rider base of 300 in the city, said, “Traffic rules are a must and every rider is asked to abide by these rules. 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.”
Most online delivery apps specify the expected time of delivery, at the time of order, which is calculated based on the time taken for preparation of food at the restaurant and the distance from the restaurant to the customer. If the rider fails to deliver the order during that time, which may vary from 30 minutes to an hour, the order qualifies as a delayed order. Multiple delayed orders then lead to summoning the rider concerned thus affecting his incentives.