Soaring gas prices add to the woes of delivery agents; many quit

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With the cost of petrol crossing the ₹100 mark, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those involved in the delivery of food and other goods

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Rising fuel prices have worried thousands of delivery agents across India. With the rising cost of petrol and crossing the ₹100 mark, it is becoming more and more difficult for those delivering food and other goods.

Delivery partners are struggling to take care of their families and many have quit. They estimate that fuel prices will rise further in the coming months due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Read also : Traffic cops throw a spanner in Zomato’s 10-minute food delivery plan

Last year, online food delivery platform Zomato increased wages by 7-8% for delivery partners to cover rising fuel costs. “This new compensation structure is designed to automatically adjust to any future changes in fuel prices,” the company said in February 2021.

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However, there has been no such decision so far from Zomato. And many food delivery executives are waiting for salary reviews to cover rising gas costs.

On Thursday, May 19, the price of a liter of petrol was ₹105.41 in Delhi while it was ₹120.51 in Mumbai. In Chennai the cost of petrol per liter was ₹110.85 and in Kolkata it was ₹115.12. It was ₹111.09 in Bangalore.

With high gas prices, some quit their delivery jobs. This has resulted in food delivery aggregators struggling with runner shortages, a mint says the report.

“Working in an air-conditioned showroom, even for many hours, is not the same as walking around town in the heat for six days a week. The fuel bills went up and the money wasn’t worth the hours we had to work as delivery people. I may not earn much more now but I am happier and healthier,” said Md. Annu, 28, who left Zomato two months ago and joined an electronics store in Hyderabad, quoted in the report.

Read also : TN cops plead fine on food apps, rather than delivery people, for traffic violations

“There was a guaranteed minimum payment, one day off per week, and I delivered within a 5-6 km radius. But that has changed. I had to do about 30 orders a day. I was earning around ₹1,500 a day but was paying ₹300-400 for fuel,” he said.

In 2020, the salary was attractive and he did around 120-130 orders per week and earned around ₹10,000. Like most delivery people at the time, he was paid on a weekly basis, according to the report.

Like Annu, there are others in Delhi and other parts of India who have quit their jobs.

Ajoy Thomas, vice president and business manager (retail, e-commerce, logistics and transport) of staffing firm TeamLease Services, said payments had fallen from a year ago.

“A year ago the payment was up to ₹35 per order. It is below ₹15 now. This is basically done by the big players because paying the delivery manager is one of the highest costs for a company,” he was quoted in the report.

Read also : As inflation hits 8-year high, Indians see packages ‘shrinking’

A delivery man from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, explained how difficult the situation had become for him in recent months due to rising petrol prices.

“I made food deliveries even before Covid arrived in the country. It was a good job. However, after Covid it became more difficult. But now it has become even more difficult after witnessing this sharp rise in gasoline prices. I don’t know when my company will increase incentives,” said Gopal Yadav India time.

Another person, who works in the courier delivery service, said they were also feeling the pinch of high fuel costs. “I have been in the courier delivery service for 10 years. However, the steady rise in gas prices has ruined my entire budget. I don’t know how to survive with such a steady climb. My salary is fixed and leading a family in such a situation is a huge challenge,” Rakesh Gupta told the newspaper.

Read also : Dubai delivery drivers quit jobs in rare protest over pay

In Kochi, a Bihar native said he was forced to do the delivery gig as he had no other choice, according to a report on New Indian Express.

“Every day I have to fill up to three liters of gasoline which costs around ₹350. The total monthly fuel expenditure will be around ₹9,000. It was around ₹6,000 last year. For the fuel expenses, we have to get rid of a lot of the income. As it is difficult to find another job here, I am forced to do the delivery job,” Sadak Ansari said.

Another person, who has completed her BTech and is a resident of Kochi, said she now has to walk nearly 300 km to meet her daily goals.

“Every day I have to deliver more than 20 food orders to customers. If we couldn’t do this, our income would be very low. So we are forced to travel 200 to 300 km a day to reach our daily target. If the amount we spent on fuel was around ₹7,000 last year, now we are spending over ₹10,000,” Rakesh said, according to the report.

To overcome fuel costs, some use bicycles in Kerala. “I rented a Kochi Metro bike, which costs only ₹700 per month, to deliver food packets to customers. If I use a motorbike, I will have to spend a lot on fuel,” said Vasudev, originally from Andhra Pradesh, quoted in the report.

In Madurai, a delivery man asked the government when fuel price hikes would stop.

“When will the rise in gasoline prices stop… It seems unstoppable. I can’t increase my income. The gap between my income and my expenses has already widened, so I am looking to switch to e-bikes or a two-wheeler, which are more fuel efficient,” the 26-year-old told The Hindu.

Adding to high fuel costs is the rising price of domestic LPG cylinder, which rose by ₹3.5 on Thursday and now costs over ₹1,000.

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