Spiralling petrol price rises add to woes of delivery agents; many quit

Spiralling petrol price rises add to woes of delivery agents; many quit

With petrol cost crossing the ₹100 mark, it is getting tougher and tougher for those involved in delivering food and other goods

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The rise in fuel prices has left thousands of delivery agents across India worried. With petrol cost increasing and crossing the ₹100 mark, it is getting tougher and tougher for those involved in delivering food and other goods.

The delivery partners are finding it difficult to take care of their families and many have quit. They feel fuel prices will increase further in the coming months due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Also read: Traffic cops throw spanner in Zomato’s 10-minute food delivery plan

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

However, there is no such move so far by Zomato. And many food delivery executives are waiting for the revision of salaries to cover rising petrol costs.

On Thursday (May 19), the price of one-litre petrol was ₹105.41 in Delhi while it was ₹120.51 in Mumbai. In Chennai, the cost of petrol per litre was ₹110.85 and in Kolkata, it was ₹115.12. It was ₹111.09 in Bengaluru.

With high petrol prices, some have left their delivery jobs. This has resulted in food delivery aggregators struggling with rider shortages, a Mint report said.

“Working in an air-conditioned showroom even for many hours is not the same as going around the city in the heat for six days a week. The fuel bills have gone up, and the money was not worth the hours we had to work as delivery workers. I may not be earning a lot more now, but I am happier and healthier,” 28-year-old Md. Annu, who quit Zomato two months ago and joined an electronics outlet in Hyderabad, was quoted as saying in the report.

Also read: TN cops moot fine on food apps, rather than delivery boys, for traffic violations

“There was a minimum guarantee payment, a day off every week, and I would deliver within a 5-6km area. But that has changed. I had to do around 30 orders a day. I made around ₹1,500 daily, but I was paying ₹300-400 for fuel,” he said.

In 2020, the pay was attractive and he did around 120-130 orders a week and made about ₹10,000. Like most delivery workers then, he was paid on a weekly basis, the report said.

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

Ajoy Thomas, vice-president and business head (retail, e-commerce, logistics and transportation) of staffing firm TeamLease Services, said pay-outs have dipped now compared to last year.

“A year ago, the pay-out was as high as ₹35 per order. It is below ₹15 now. This is basically being done by the big players, as the delivery executive pay-out constitutes among the highest costs for a company,” he was quoted in the report.

Also read: As inflation spikes to 8-year high, Indians see package ‘shrinkflation’

A delivery worker in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, explained how tough it was become for him in the last few months due to rising petrol costs.

“I have been doing food deliveries even before Covid hit the country. It was a good job. However, after Covid, it has become tougher. But now, it has become even tougher after witnessing this steep rise in petrol prices. I don’t know when my company will increase the incentives,” Gopal Yadav told The Times of India.

Another person, who is in the courier delivery service, said he too is feeling the pinch of high fuel costs. “I have been in courier delivery service for the last 10 years. However, the regular rise in petrol has ruined my entire budget. I do not know how to survive with such a regular rise. My salary is fixed and running a family in such a situation is a huge challenge,” Rakesh Gupta told the newspaper.

Also read: Dubai delivery drivers walk off job in rare protest over pay

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

“Each day, I have to fill up to three litres of petrol, which costs around ₹350. The total monthly fuel expense will be around ₹9,000. It was around ₹6,000 last year. For the fuel expense, we have to shed a major portion of the revenue. Since it is difficult to get another job here, I am forced to do the job of a delivery boy,” Sadak Ansari said.

Another person, who has completed his BTech and is a Kochi resident said they have to now travel nearly 300km to achieve their daily targets.

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

To overcome fuel costs, some are using bicycle in Kerala. “I have rented a Kochi Metro bicycle, which costs only ₹700 per month, to deliver food packets to the customers. If I am using a motorcycle, I will have to spend a huge amount on fuel,” Andhra Pradesh native Vasudev was quoted as saying in the report.

In Madurai, a delivery boy asked the government was to when will the rise in fuel prices stop.

“When will the rising petrol prices stop… It looks unstoppable. I am unable to increase my earnings. The gap between my income and expenditure has already widened so I am looking to shift to electric bikes or a two-wheeler, which has higher fuel efficiency,” the 26-year-old told The Hindu.

Adding to high fuel costs is the rise in the price of domestic LPG cylinder, which went up by ₹3.5 on Thursday and now costs more than ₹1,000.

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