'Not an easy job': UAE delivery riders share challenges they face on roads

One rider urges 'impatient' customers to be more understanding when they run late


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 8:13 AM

Last updated: Wed 31 Jan 2024, 10:36 PM

Delivery riders make our lives easier, bringing our food cravings and parcels to the comfort of our homes and offices. They brave risks and challenges on roads to deliver what we need.

But have we ever asked them what they want?

For Ped Prasad Pandey, a veteran rider of 15 years, a simple smile is more than enough gesture to reciprocate his effort completing a delivery. “What I love most about my work is interacting with the customers,” he told Khaleej Times. “I’m happy to see people receiving their parcels and I feel proud bringing them.”

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Pandey, who works for Aramex, is among the 100 delivery riders recently honoured by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Police for their professionalism and dedication to work.

The ‘Delivery Sector Excellence Award’ – the first of its kind in the region – also honoured delivery companies for “elevating road safety standards in Dubai, motivating motorbike drivers to follow traffic regulations, and enhancing services.”

Proudly holding the trophy given to their company in the Delivery Companies category, Pandey said the individual recognition he received is a fruit of more than a decade of hard work and adherence to road safety.

Not an easy job

“Being a delivery rider is not an easy job,” he shared.

He noted: “As we are all aware, we are competing with fast cars on the road. And the weather conditions in the UAE – especially during hot summer months – are really tough for riders like us. One mistake we make, and we don’t know where we will land.”

“But, thank God, I haven’t had any accident in the last 15 years,” he added.

The Nepali delivery rider said he works about 13 hours a day. “Pay is enough to bring food to the table and support my family,” the father of a one-year old boy, said.

“I really loved riding a motorbike, since I was young. I like the sensation of being in control and a sense of freedom that I love most about motorbikes. Since I arrived in Dubai more than 15 years ago, delivery riding has been my job,” he added.

Rider’s qualifications

In Dubai, delivery riders are required to obtain a driver’s qualification certificate from RTA, aside from holding a valid driving licence. To get the certificate, a rider has to undergo comprehensive practical and theoretical training to master the basics of defensive driving, safety requirements, and the periodic maintenance of bikes, according to RTA.

Muhammad Adnan Shafi Muhammad, another awardee who works for food delivery company Deliveroo, said he had witnessed the general improvement in the performance of delivery riders.

“We have also become more aware now about safety requirements, and companies have become more conscious to provide the uniform for their riders, depending on the weather,” he added.

The RTA has strict guidelines for licensing delivery companies and ensuring rider training as well as specifying delivery boxes, driver uniforms, and other requirements for contracting with delivery companies.

Request to customers

Most of the delivery riders work on a commission basis – there is no fix salary. In the case of Muhammad, he earns between Dh3,000 and Dh4,000 monthly.

He is happy with his work and satisfied with the pay. But he also has a request to some “impatient” customers. “I hope they understand why there are times that we run a bit late. If they (customers) always rush us, we tend to drive recklessly and dangerously,” he noted.

In an earlier story by Khaleej Times, RoadSafetyUAE noted: “Riders say they felt being under pressure to get the food delivered on time or else they get the wrath of irate customers. They believe that customers are only interested in getting their food as quickly as possible and are not concerned with the safety of the riders. If a delivery rider believes a customer will be upset if their food is not delivered in time, they will be tempted to break the rules."

“Adherence to safety is a community effort. If asked what we need – us riders would say that a little understanding from our customers is big help,” noted Muhammad.

Both Pandey and Muhammad thanked Dubai authorities for fostering a culture of gratitude and support for the delivery community. They also advised their fellow riders to work hard and be safe always.


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