Fuel price hike eating into income of delivery boys in Bengaluru: Activists | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The steep hike in fuel prices has dealt a crushing blow to the city’s delivery workforce, which is already overworked, underpaid and struggling to make ends meet. Delivery executives also have to deal with increasing traffic, road diversions due to infrastructure projects, harassment by traffic cops and the ‘on-time or free’ order clause.
In Bengaluru, the price of a litre of petrol increased from Rs 72 in March 2020 to over Rs 94 now. Firms like Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo, Telyport, Rapido, Porter, Lynk, Pindrop, Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, Jiomart, Licious and BigBasket are employing thousands of delivery personnel in the city.
Shaik Salauddin, national general secretary, Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT), said: “App-based transport workers across the country are facing the burden of rising fuel prices. Workers have to bear the petrol cost from their own earnings. So, an increase in fuel price directly has a negative impact on their earnings. We have been demanding increase in per/km charges, but nothing has been done about it.”
Deepinder Goyal, founder of Zomato, said: “Our delivery partners travel 100-200km per day to deliver food to our customers. Rise in fuel prices has increased their monthly spend on fuel by Rs 600-Rs 800 (3% of their monthly income). Keeping the growing cost of operations in mind, we have increased the pay structure for our delivery partners by 7%-8% going forward.”
A spokesperson from Swiggy said: “In Bengaluru, we have enabled cashbacks on petrol in partnership with petrol bunks to help our partners with some immediate relief. We have increased the minimum pay of delivery partners across 70 cities by 20% for short-distance deliveries from March 1.”
Not enough, say activists
Kaveri Medappa, a doctoral researcher studying the experiences of app-based workers in Bengaluru, said: “Both these platforms have been slashing incentives and monetary benefits consistently over the past 2-3 years. This continued even during the height of the pandemic. Today, despite order volumes having gone back to pre-Covid levels, riders continue to work with slashed incomes.”
“These platforms pay Rs 5 to 6 per km. They continue to take in more and more delivery workers, resulting in most having to spend anything between 12-14 hours at least to earn Rs 700-1,000 per day. Although these platforms claim to have increased rates keeping in mind rising fuel costs, when you carefully look at these supposed hikes, they amount to nothing. For instance, in Zomato these hikes have, in effect, increased per km rates by a few paisa,” said Medappa.
“For orders up to 5.5km, Zomato used to pay a flat rate of Rs 30 and an additional Rs 10 for every km beyond that. While the company has not changed the base pay, it is now paying Rs 1 per additional 100 metres above the 5.5-km limit. Earlier, it used to pay Rs 300, Rs 600 and Rs 800 for completing 11, 16 and 20 orders, respectively, in a day. But it has now reduced to Rs 250 for 10 orders, Rs 400 for 15, Rs 600 for 19 and Rs 850 for 23 in a day,” said Salauddin.
Medappa said delivery workers are easy targets for vehicle-towing drives. “They are aware that these workers cannot do without their two-wheelers and will pay a hefty amount to get their vehicle back,” she added.
A Zomato spokesperson said their delivery partners are not penalised for delay in ‘on-time or free’ orders. “We actively promote adherence to traffic rules among our delivery partners and do not penalise them for late deliveries caused due to unforeseen reasons,” said a spokesperson from Swiggy.

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Sagar Biswas

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