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Opinion: Burnaby food delivery drivers a menace because they’re so desperate

Some feel they need to be reckless in order to make a living wage
illegal parking food delivery
A food-app delivery driver parked illegally.

I saw a news item the other day about the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1518 writing to the province and several mayors asking them to consider short-term parking spaces for food delivery drivers.

It seems to be a good idea on the surface because we need to do something to improve things for both drivers and the general public.

The sad fact is that these delivery drivers – mostly working for food delivery apps like Skip the Dishes, Door Dash and Fantuan – can be a menace to society.

The problem is that they are so desperate to get their deliveries done that it makes (some of) them do dangerous things.

The other day I was going up in my apartment’s elevator, which is small and only supposed to have two passengers during COVID-19.

The elevator stopped at the lobby and standing there was a delivery driver carrying two bags of food. As he stepped forward, I told him he couldn’t get on because there were already two of us and could he wait for the next car.

Well, he freaked out. Like, literally freaked out. He started yelling about how he didn’t have time to wait because the only way to make any money was to keep up this mad pace.

I thought he was going to cry.

I felt terrible for him. But I’m not risking my safety because he can’t wait 30 seconds for another elevator.

It’s even worse out there the community. I’ve seen so many instances in the past year of drivers double parking, parking on curbs, parking in other illegal ways, pulling u-turns in the middle of traffic – only to find out that they are picking up or dropping off food for one of these apps.

And let's not forget the fact that many of these drivers are likely speeding.

It’s hard to tell who they are working for sometimes because some work for multiple apps at the same time but use the same bag to carry the food.

These drivers are reckless and taking too many chances all because there is a mad rush to get to where they are going in order to make enough money to live in a place as expensive as Burnaby.

Something has to change before someone gets killed. This is the problem with some parts of the gig economy. They tout freedom for their drivers, but that freedom comes with a high cost.

Hopefully it won’t be somebody’s life.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.