Mumbai traffic police issues notices to Swiggy, Zomato, Domino's; says no lightning deliveries

Updated: Feb 19, 2020, 07:38 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

With more than 30 delivery executives from various companies caught for traffic violations, traffic cops issue notices to Swiggy, Zomato, and Domino's and also tell them to add safe driving as a performance parameter

Most delivery executives are expected by the software to reach their destinations in a certain time, causing them to ride rashly. Representation pic
Most delivery executives are expected by the software to reach their destinations in a certain time, causing them to ride rashly. Representation pic

Unable to rein in rash riders delivering food across the city, the Mumbai Traffic police have now written to various food aggregators, including Zomato and Swiggy, to step in and stop the nuisance. The riders, routinely found violating traffic regulations because of time targets, were initially fined by the traffic cops but that failed to be a deterrent.

The police have now urged aggregators to discourage delivery executives from speeding. Madhukar Pandey, joint commissioner of police (traffic) said that on an average, the traffic police apprehend around 30 food delivery drivers every day over traffic violations. He pointed out that after trying other options like fining them and organising training sessions for drivers to sensitise them, they realised that the problem was also due to policies of the food aggregator companies.

The traffic police apprehend around 30 food delivery drivers every day over traffic violations

"No matter how much action you take, they are expected by the software to reach a particular place within a certain amount of time. So we have written to the companies and asked them to delink delivery time from performance of the drivers," he said, explaining that their performance should be partly rated by delivery time and partly for safe driving in an optimal manner.

Pandey said that the traffic police sent notices to Swiggy, Zomato and Domino's last month. He added that in the letter, the traffic police have also asked the companies to check driving licences when they are hired and ensure that drivers don't have any challans pending. While none of the companies have replied to the letter yet, Pandey said that they will monitor the situation until March. "We are monitoring the number of cases of rash driving involving food delivery companies. We will take a review in the first week of March and if there is no significant decline in number of cases by then, we will call them (companies) for a meeting or take stronger action," he said.

The traffic police apprehend around 30 food delivery drivers every day over traffic violations
The traffic police apprehend around 30 food delivery drivers every day over traffic violations

Food delivery riders are often seen riding without a helmet or in the opposite direction on a one-way road and this has been a risk to pedestrians and locals. Doris Saldanha, a school teacher, said that delivery drivers often drive on footpaths to cut through the traffic putting school students at risk.

"Food delivery riders often go against the flow of traffic to skip a signal or a U-turn to save that extra five minutes. This adds to the existing problem of rash auto drivers and school van drivers. We also feel bad for them since they are following rules made by the companies," she said.

'Penalise food aggregators'
Anandini Thakoor of Khar Residents Association said, "They are in a constant rush to reach their destination and ride rashly, parking wherever they like. We put up bollards on the footpaths and even that didn't make any difference. It is a tricky position for the companies who are competing to deliver food as quickly as possible but they need to put some restrictions as well and train their drivers better."

Transport expert A V Shenoy stated that the companies must also take responsibility of rash driving by their employees and should remove offers of speed deliveries. Shenoy said that such indiscipline on roads to achieve time-bound deliveries started with Domino's after which companies like Zomato and Swiggy caught on. "Companies should not make such commitments considering Mumbai's transport issues. It's their job to encourage delivery executives to not commit traffic violations. The traffic police should penalise the companies. Only then will they encourage their delivery boys to follow traffic rules," he said.

'No time-based incentives'
While Domino's chose not to comment, a spokesperson from Swiggy said, "The safety of public and our delivery partners is of utmost importance to Swiggy. We actively promote the adherence of traffic rules amongst our delivery partners and do not rate or penalise them for late deliveries. Delivery partners are consistently sensitised on safe riding practices, safety gear and parking etiquette. We also initiate necessary action against those found guilty of violating traffic rules including termination of services."

As part of its 'Safety First' initiative, Swiggy's spokesperson said, its delivery partners undergo training on the various nuances of road safety.

Zomato's spokesperson said that the company did not penalise or incentivise delivery partners on the basis of speed of delivery.

"Delivery partners are not informed if a particular order falls under 'On Time Or Free', ensuring they don't rush through the delivery," he said. Delivery boy mid-day spoke to, however, said that he has been penalised for a late delivery before. "The boys who are new to the job or don't know the area well are the ones who face problems navigating the route. They can't figure out the roads and end up speeding," said another delivery boy.

30
No. of deliverymen fined daily over traffic violations

March
Month when traffic police will review the situation again

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