Ever wonder what life is like for a food delivery rider? Yong Wei – a food delivery rider with Grab for the last 3 years and pro tem President of the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA) gives us a peek into the food delivery community.
Yong Wei made the switch when a desk-bound job left him unhappy and feeling unfulfilled. Instead, he found that working for Grab as a delivery rider allows him to combine his love for riding the motorbike with being able to make customers happy through his deliveries. For someone who has also previously dabbled in a bit of business, he sees this akin to a business – where he applies business skills such as providing good customer service and how to retain regular customers. His unique approach to his job certainly matches his jovial and affable nature to a tee.
Yong Wei takes what he does very seriously – pulling 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, every week. He takes a rest on a weekday while working weekends as that is the time where people tend to make more orders. Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan went undercover as a delivery rider and managed 4 deliveries in under 2 hours, Yong Wei can hit 6 deliveries in 1 hour if they are within the same area.
Community of Food Delivery Riders
He lets me in on the secret world of food delivery riders where they have organically formed Whatsapp chat groups to share collective wisdom and tips with each other, on top of traffic and weather information. Because of his friendly personality, he strikes up conversations very easily with fellow food delivery riders and even shop staff. Yong Wei is in multiple Whatsapp groups with other riders that typically service the north-east regions of Singapore and enjoys bumping into them at traffic lights and while doing pick ups.
His outspoken nature and wide network of riders are helpful for his role as the pro tem President of the newly formed National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA). The NDCA represents all freelancers whose main income comes from delivery and will cover some 2,000 riders. Supported by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), both groups will work closely with stakeholders to address issues faced by freelancers, enhance support frameworks and uplift work prospects.
They introduced the NTUC U FSE Relief Scheme for Freelance Combi Bus, Limousine and Delivery Drivers & Riders, open to freelancers whose livelihoods are affected but did not qualify for the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund (CDRF). When the recent Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) saw no dining in for the public, the NDCA also set out to work with partners across Singapore to set aside places for delivery riders to have their meals or take a rest.
Freelancing and Beyond
Although Yong Wei enjoys the flexibility that comes with being a freelancer, he shares a bit more about the issues that freelance delivery riders face. Because they are on the roads daily and trying their best to deliver food within the shortest time possible, they tend to have a higher risk of injuring themselves. Getting into an accident and being out of action for months could put their livelihoods in jeopardy. Part of Yong Wei’s role in the NDCA is to speak regularly with delivery platforms such as Grab on improvements and safety. Ensuring fellow riders have sufficient insurance coverage is also a priority so as to protect them in the event of income disruption.
Yong Wei takes it upon himself to mentor food delivery riders that are not as seasoned as him. He is constantly reminding them to place safety first and not flout any traffic laws. Being mindful that this industry could potentially be disrupted in the future, he urges fellow riders to make alternative plans and consider upskilling even as they freelance. He lives by his own mantra, spending the 5 months where he was out of action due to a motorbike accident keeping up to date on web trends and reading on how to better manage his money.
Three things he always tries to impart to fellow freelancers:
1) Listen more than you speak.
2) Take care of your health.
3) Never stop learning.