SINGAPORE: Food delivery platforms have seen a spike in rider signups as Singapore moves into the second week of a month-long “circuit breaker” period aimed at breaking the COVID-19 cycle of transmission.
Deliveroo saw an 80 per cent increase in rider applications in the past month, and has added over 1,000 riders to the fleet in April so far, said a spokesperson in response to CNA queries.
The company expects to hire an additional 2,000 drivers by the end of the second quarter “to meet the growing demand for food delivery” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the spokesperson added.
Deliveroo had 7,000 riders in its fleet as of Apr 13, a 15 per cent increase from the end of the week before, she said. About 75 per cent of these riders are on motorcycles, 22 per cent are on bicycles and 3 per cent are walkers or on e-bicycles.
“Our expanded fleet will help us cope with the increase in demand for food delivery with more people ordering in since restaurants are currently unable to serve dine-in customers,” said the spokesperson.
“At the same time, we are glad to be creating new jobs for Singaporeans who may be looking for flexible work to supplement their income, in light of the additional measures announced by the Government earlier in April.”
Foodpanda has also seen an increase in rider signups, and “are happy to welcome them” to its existing fleet of more than 8,000 riders, said a company spokesperson.
“While we don't have the numbers for percentage increase, we are seeing an increase in the number of riders who would like to join our well-established fleet of freelancers, and due to the current situation, all our onboarding is done digitally to ensure the safety of both riders and staff,” she added.
“This will also allow us to quickly get the riders onboarded so they can start delivering fast and with minimal direct contact.”
Foodpanda has also launched a pilot programme with ComfortDelGro to allow taxi drivers to fulfil delivery orders, and this pilot will be rolled out first in the East, said the spokesperson.
BALANCING NUMBER OF RIDERS WITH CUSTOMER DEMAND
Responding to questions on whether it limits the number of riders in its fleet to ensure earnings do not fall as more people come on board, Deliveroo said it has “provided detailed guidance” on the best times and places to ride, using data analytics to match supply and demand.
“What’s important to consider is how we can ramp up operations as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we’re doing so in a sustainable way, and our riders, employees and restaurants are fairly remunerated,” said the Deliveroo spokesperson.
“This means balancing the number of new riders we onboard with customers’ demand for food deliveries, to ensure we don’t have an oversupply of riders and protect rider earnings.”
Deliveroo riders are paid based on the estimated delivery time, with factors including vehicle type, traffic and the weather, said the spokesperson.
“Deliveroo does not take a commission from riders on food deliveries and has not increased the commission it takes from restaurants for food deliveries.
“The amount offered for each delivery is shown in-app and riders have the freedom to accept or reject any delivery that is offered to them, without any penalty. Once completed, Deliveroo riders keep 100 per cent of the amount, along with any customer tips.”
Foodpanda has also established a “competitive but flexible payment structure” that rewards riders based on criteria including acceptance rate, mode of transport, location of delivery zones and extra concessions for special hours on weekends, said the company’s spokesperson.
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In response to CNA queries, Grab did not confirm whether it has seen an increase in the number of riders and drivers joining the GrabFood platform.
The company has seen a 20 per cent increase in GrabFood orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an additional 20 per cent increase since the start of the “circuit breaker” measures on Apr 7 compared to the week before, said a Grab spokesperson.
Thousands of Grab driver-partners have signed up for the GrabExpress Car pilot programme, which enables drivers to provide on-demand parcel and food delivery services, she added.
“This not only helps to boost our food delivery fleet supply, but also provides an additional earning opportunity for our driver-partners who are impacted by the reduced demand for transport rides.”