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Demand for food delivery has skyrocketed. So have complaints about some drivers

A soaring demand for food delivered fast has spawned small armies of couriers
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Delivery scooters are parked as drivers wait to pick up food for delivery, Thursday, June 6, 2024, in Boston. Boston and New York are cracking down on unlawful drivers, whom they say are ignoring traffic laws and making city streets more dangerous. (AP Photos/Michael Casey)

A soaring demand for food delivered fast has spawned small armies of couriers 香蕉视频直播 and increasing alarm 香蕉视频直播 in big cities where scooters, motorcycles and mopeds zip in and out of traffic and hop onto pedestrian-filled sidewalks as their drivers race to drop off salads and sandwiches.

Officials in Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., have started cracking down on delivery companies by issuing warning letters, seizing illegally registered or driven vehicles, and launching special street patrols to enforce speed limits. The pushback is not limited to the U.S.: There have also been a series of crackdowns in London and other British cities.

For their part, the delivery companies have pledged to work with city officials to ensure that all of their drivers operate both legally and safely.

In a letter this week to food delivery companies DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber, Boston officials cited an 香蕉视频直播渁larming increase in unlawful and dangerous operation of motorcycles, mopeds and motorized scooters香蕉视频直播 that they said put the drivers, other motorists and pedestrians 香蕉视频直播渋n imminent danger.香蕉视频直播

The letter alleged that some drivers were operating unregistered vehicles and breaking traffic laws, and warned of an imminent crackdown on the vehicles. It also demanded that the companies explain how they can ensure their drivers are operating safely. The Massachusetts State Police said they identified dozens of mopeds and scooters that were improperly registered or being operated by unlicensed drivers. Fourteen illegal mopeds and scooters were seized Wednesday in one Boston neighborhood alone.

In New York City, authorities have seized 13,000 scooters and mopeds so far this year; on Wednesday, they crushed more than 200 illegal mopeds and other delivery vehicles. Authorities in Washington, D.C., meanwhile, launched a program Wednesday called Operation Ride Right to ensure drivers of two-wheeled vehicles are complying with the law. Since it began, authorities have made five arrests and impounded 17 mopeds.

香蕉视频直播淭hey have terrorized many of our pedestrians, particularly our senior and older adults,香蕉视频直播 New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday at an event in which motorized two-wheeled delivery vehicles were destroyed. 香蕉视频直播淩iders who think the rules don香蕉视频直播檛 apply to them, they香蕉视频直播檙e going to see an aggressive enforcement policy that香蕉视频直播檚 in place.香蕉视频直播

When food delivery services had their major resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic, most drivers used cars to deliver their fare. That led to increased traffic congestion, prompting a shift to motorcycles and other two-wheeled modes of transportation.

The drivers, many of them immigrants from Latin American countries but also from West Africa and South Asia, say they are just trying to earn a living and are providing a service that gets customers their food fast.

香蕉视频直播淲e香蕉视频直播檙e not all bad,香蕉视频直播 said Luis L贸pez, a delivery driver from the Dominican Republic who spoke to The Associated Press on Friday from his motorcycle in an area of multiple fast-food restaurants near the Boston Public Library. 香蕉视频直播淲e come to work, to earn a living, pay the rent and send something to our families.香蕉视频直播

L贸pez, who came to the U.S. about three years ago, acknowledged that some drivers are unlicensed or driving unregistered vehicles, and he香蕉视频直播檚 seen them running red lights and onto sidewalks, menacing pedestrians. Some people are so reckless that they香蕉视频直播檙e also putting other delivery drivers at risk, he said.

He said he was among a group of 10 delivery drivers outside a Chick-fil-A on Thursday night when a police officer approached them with a flyer describing how to register their scooters and mopeds. The whole group agreed to do just that.

香蕉视频直播淲e have to respect the law,香蕉视频直播 he said, speaking in Spanish. 香蕉视频直播淲e are going to respect the law so that they let us work here.香蕉视频直播

Drivers of motorized two-wheeled vehicles are coming under much more scrutiny than was faced years ago by other gig workers in cars, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, because they can more easily violate traffic laws, said Hilary Robinson, an associate professor of law and sociology at Northeastern University.

The switch to the vehicles 香蕉视频直播渋s really an attempt to make low-wage, high-risk labor available so that all of us can have cheap goods and services,香蕉视频直播 Robinson said. 香蕉视频直播淚t香蕉视频直播檚 perhaps one of the reasons why people are starting to realize that there really is no such thing as a free lunch.香蕉视频直播

William Medina, a delivery worker in New York who is also an organizing leader with the Los Deliveristas Unidos Campaign, blames the delivery companies.

香蕉视频直播淭his is a problem that started because the companies force you to complete the deliveries from far distances,香蕉视频直播 he said in a telephone interview Friday. Medina started out delivering food on a bicycle, switched to an electric bike, and now is using a moped to make the longer trips.

香蕉视频直播淚f you have to complete the delivery 6 miles, 7 miles, you have to complete it,香蕉视频直播 he said.

Among those advocating for tougher enforcement in Boston is City Councilor Edward Flynn, who said on Facebook that it 香蕉视频直播渃an no longer be the Wild West on the streets of Boston.香蕉视频直播

香蕉视频直播淓veryone using city roads needs to abide by the rules of the road. If you香蕉视频直播檙e able to go 25 mph like a car 香蕉视频直播 you should be licensed, registered, and carry liability insurance in the event of an accident and injury,香蕉视频直播 he wrote.

Some Boston residents are supportive of tougher action against the scooters.

香蕉视频直播淚 get frustrated when they don香蕉视频直播檛 follow the traffic laws,香蕉视频直播 said Anne Kirby, a 25-year-old student having lunch in a Boston neighborhood within a few hundred feet of several scooters. 香蕉视频直播淚 feel like I almost get hit every day when they go through the crosswalk when it香蕉视频直播檚 not their turn to go.香蕉视频直播

But Jaia Samuel, a 25-year-old hospital worker from Boston, was more conflicted. She said she agreed that delivery scooters can be dangerous, but she also acknowledged that she relies heavily on delivery services for her food.

香蕉视频直播淚 do think it香蕉视频直播檚 unsafe to an extent, the weaving in between cars and the not stopping for red lights,香蕉视频直播 she said. 香蕉视频直播淏ut I feel like everybody should be able to make a living, so who am I to say anything? It would be unfortunate for me. I would be taking a hit with the crackdown on them. I order a lot of Uber Eats, DoorDash.香蕉视频直播

Three major food delivery services have pledged to work with officials and neighborhood advocates to address the problem.

香蕉视频直播淭he overwhelming majority of Dashers do the right thing and like all drivers must follow the rules of the road. If they don香蕉视频直播檛, then they face consequences 香蕉视频直播 just like anyone else,香蕉视频直播 DoorDash said in a statement Wednesday.

Grubhub said its employees already agree to obey all local traffic laws. 香蕉视频直播淲hile enforcement of the law is best handled by the police, we take safety seriously and will take action to address any reports of unsafe driving,香蕉视频直播 the company said in a statement Thursday.

Michael Casey, The Associated Press





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