ISLAMABAD: With the relaxation in lockdown, many home-based food suppliers have started cooking for their clients again. However, to deliver the volume of orders they receive daily, a local parcel delivery service has come into the business.

Most home-based kitchens offer food items that are required to be delivered fresh and hot to their clients.

However, they require somebody to take up the responsibility to handover the orders to the customers with responsibility after collecting it from them.

To their rescue, bike riders have emerged for delivery purposes. The demand for delivery boys has increased after easing of lockdown, said the owner of a local parcel delivery service company, Abdul Aleem Sheikh.

He added that a month ago, he had just 10 bike riders registered with his small company however after the lockdown was eased, the number of riders has escalated to 50.

Each registered rider is currently delivering around 15 parcels a day and that also within 10 kilometres (km) range, he added and said that most of them hail from Rawalpindi.

For each delivery, the share of riders is minimum Rs50 and goes up to Rs100, varying with the distance. This is apart from the tip that they are given by most customers.

Keeping in view the current coronavirus situation, Sheikh said that they provide gloves and facemasks to every rider before leaving for the destination. They are also given a spray-bottle filled with chlorinated water which they have to carry with them.

Speaking about the items that are delivered, the owner said that currently, they get bookings to deliver homemade food items such as burgers, cakes and to different places in the city in minimum time. “The rider is tracked through a mobile application that we have developed”, he added.

The bike riders including Usman Adnan and Jehangir Raja spoke to The Express Tribune as well. They said that they were now saving more due to the slash in the petroleum prices. “Petrol worth Rs500 is enough for delivering orders for two days”, Raja said.

Due to its small area, Adnan said that it was comparatively easier to work in Islamabad than in Rawalpindi as they make more money in less time.

The riders also hailed the generosity of the clients and said that the women particularly elderly ones treat them very gently when they deliver their parcels. “The people receiving the packets ask if we need a drink of water and even ask if we are earning good enough to support families amid the lockdown,” Raja said. However, the riders complained that the Islamabad traffic police bothers them under different pretexts. Sometimes, they are fined as well and a portion of their day-long hard work goes in vain.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2020.