Amazon will stop making Prime Now deliveries via bicycle courier in its hometown of Seattle after this Saturday, shifting entirely to vehicle delivery instead, according to messages sent Wednesday to bicycle couriers from their contracting firms, informing them of Amazon’s decision.
The couriers were given only three days notice, according to a bike courier who asked not to be named because Amazon could still reverse its decision.
"We were all given a very short notice that Friday would be our last day," said the courier, who had been on the job since last August. "A lot of people, including myself, are thinking, 'Why are we going to stick around and bust our ass and put our lives on our line when they don't give a shit?' They just cut our jobs. A lot of us just walked out."
"A lot of new employees got screwed too," she said. "It was not a pretty picture yesterday." Geekwire estimates that about 60 couriers will lose their jobs.
The courier worked for local contractor Fleetfoot. She had nothing but positive things to say about the small company. "[Owner] Gary [Brose] was the best boss I've ever had," she said. "He didn't tell us because he was trying to negotiate with Amazon and get them to change their mind... He was a good employer. It was Amazon that was horrible."
The courier said she looking for new work while applying for unemployment benefits and food stamps. Her rent has just gone up. The company offered no severance pay. She had been making $12.50 per hour, working out of Amazon's Belltown warehouse. The work was incredibly demanding, she said, and Amazon's warehouse offered only one badly-maintained bathroom for dozens of riders, forcing her and others to seek accommodations in nearby stores. As Geekwire notes:
As reported by GeekWire last fall, expectations for the Amazon bike couriers were high—with heavier-than-normal loads, fast delivery times, careful tracking by the system, and a requirement for near-perfect execution. Riders are assigned a numeric score that Amazon calls the “Perfect Delivery Rate,” or PDR, describing how well they meet expectations.
Another courier weighed in on Reddit: "And some of you guys wonder why we fucking hate amazon."
The courier I spoke with believes the e-commerce giant may come to regret the decision. She said she often picked up goods from Amazon cars stuck in downtown traffic in order to meet one-hour delivery deadlines. The company did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.