Mohammad Sarwar and Mohammad Shaukath hit the road to make deliveries. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Delivery boys perhaps have the riskiest jobs in town. Every time they hit the road, their lives are on stake as speeding vehicles pose a constant threat to them.

Under tremendous pressure to deliver on time, these boys stand to incur the wrath of both their managements and customers sitting in their air-conditioned apartments or offices, should there be even a few minutes delay.

Mohammad Sarwar, 39, from Bangladesh, who works with the Riyaz Restaurant off Zayed the First Street, said, “We are invariably under pressure from customers. We respect punctuality and promptness, but sometimes we get stuck in traffic. There are dangers lurking along the way and we just pray to God for our safety.”

He said, “I am the only breadwinner in the family and my parents, wife and two children aged, six and 12 years, are dependent on me. So I have to be very careful,” he added.

Another deliveryman Mohammad Shaukat, 28, also from Bangladesh, said, “I too face similar challenges each day and thank God for a safe passage as we have to make a livelihood and support our families.”

According to the delivery boys, one common complaint from customers is that they do not pick up their follow up calls.

“Customers get angry when we don’t receive their calls but how can we when we are riding our motorbikes at the time?” asked Sarwar who delivers up to 30 meals a day. “Customers should understand our situation and avoid pressuring us as it may pose a risk to someone’s life.”

Another delivery boy who did not want to be named said restaurant delivery boys usually start their day at 11am and work till 4pm for lunch orders and from 7pm to 11pm to cater to dinner orders.

The boys said that some streets are more risky than others. “On Salam Street, the speed limit is 120kmh but our motorbikes can’t keep up with that. We have to make our way in between speeding cars and it can get scary and life-threatening at times,” said Sarwar.

Needless to say, the weather can also add to the challenge during summer. “It’s tough when the mercury rises to 48 degrees Celsius. So we wait for the winter months which are relatively easier on us,” said one delivery boy.

Restaurant owners said their priority is timely delivery while ensuring their staff are safe.

Hamed Abdullah, owner of Ritaj restaurant, said, “We have instructed all our delivery boys to follow traffic rules, drive slow and respect a customer’s order. Theirs is a challenging task and risky too. But safety comes first, so we take care of our employees and customers.”

The delivery boys said some drivers who ignore traffic rules and stop anywhere pose problems for them.

“Some new taxi drivers, for example, take a turn or change lanes without flashing their indicators, which endangers our lives on the road. It happens when customers signal to make them stop closer to where they are,” said Sarwar.

“Many times, motorists scare us with their loud car horns while they overtake us,” added his colleague.

FOR THEIR SAFETY

  • Don’t rush an order
  • Don’t make unreasonable follow-up calls
  • Don’t speed on the roads
  • Don’t hail a cab in undesignated areas
  • Don’t honk, overtake and scare bike riders
  • Make way for them when you must