Eating in has become the new eating out during the pandemic. Many restaurants in York have remained open for deliveries.
That means food courier services, like Deliveroo and Uber Eats, have been more vital than ever.
And that in turn demands ever greater efforts from York’s team of food couriers. Many completed their busiest shift of the year on Sunday – delivering Valentine’s Day treats across the city.
Most of us who enjoy getting our favourite food delivered to our door don’t think about the challenges of being the one doing the deliveries.
But we should – because it can be perilous for them.
Ryan Mason, 19, has been working for Deliveroo since January 2020.
Since the pandemic began in March, Ryan told YorkMix, “I started to work 60-80 hours a week because there was nothing else to do.
“I use a fixed gear bike and cover the city centre and a few miles in radius.”
While more people are ordering takeaway food, there is more competition he said – with people on furlough becoming Deliveroo riders or drivers.
But it is not a job for the fainthearted.
“The risks are high for cyclists,” Ryan said.
“I’ve been in 20-plus accidents, four of which have required ambulances, as well as having been attacked a few times whilst delivering at night, back when the bars and clubs were open.”
‘Why we do it’
Another rider, Harry Lee, 20, said: “I started Deliveroo on furlough as I saw it as an opportunity to earn extra income,” he said.
“It’s resulted in a much better outcome because I’ve noticed it works well throughout my life.
“Before Christmas it was even busier, because people couldn’t go out and eat. After Christmas it has been quieter. At the same time, I think people have got less money and are possibly ordering less.”
Harry added: “I enjoy the flexibility and getting to choose when I work and I know if I want to earn more money that week.”
Chris Cartwright, 21, is also a Deliveroo courier. Like many other drivers, Chris also began Deliveroo due to losing his job because of the pandemic. “I used it as an excuse to leave the house during lockdowns.”
Deliveroo set the area in which the drivers can deliver.
“It’s a good job for students who need to be flexible,” Chris said.
“It’s perfect for me, I go out when I want to and choose how long for. I cycle round the city listening to music and earning good money.”