Amazon’s move to kill its bike delivery program for its Prime Now service in Seattle, Washington, has left its bicycle messengers disheartened.
The Prime Now service, which was originally launched in New York City in late 2014, was expanded to Seattle in August last year after its initial success. Despite growing demand for the service, the company decided to put a kibosh on bike deliveries for Prime Now without giving much notice to its partner messengers. The abrupt end to the service has left many sour.
“The idea that every single messenger is just a young guy that’s fresh out of high school or something and is just doing it off to the side isn’t reality,” said Josh Buford, a Prime Now bike messenger, in an interview with GeekWire. “We were hired to do full-time work and many of us have kids and families.
“And to see a company care so little about the people that they’ve had a decently long relationship with — and a good relationship like they had with us — [end it] in an instant, you know regardless of how it may affect you … it was a bit heartless to hear.”
According to 28-year-old Cade Beyer, a Prime Now bike messenger, the demand for the service seemed to be rapidly growing. Recently, Amazon had ramped up the number of carriers to 20 messengers for evening deliveries and 10 for the day.
“When I first started it seemed like there were too many people working. We probably could have handled this — when they said they wanted 20 people in the evening it didn’t really make any sense to me,” Beyer told Geekwire. “It seemed like an excessive amount. But at the same time we were doing more work every week than we were doing the week before that.”
While Amazon didn’t give out an official statement on the matter, several bike messengers reportedly say that the company is looking into powering the Prime Now service through cars.