‘I can wait’: Uber Eats drivers get paid by the minute now. Here’s how it’s affecting your food delivery

Food delivery drivers are known to weave through traffic, sometimes breaking traffic laws and putting themselves in harm’s way, to deliver food quickly so as not to get penalized by the apps. This recently passed New York City rule says drivers must get paid by the minute. Here’s how it’s affecting your food delivery.

While drivers applaud the progress for their safety and wages, the food delivery giants aren’t so pleased, and some customers worry this will slow down when they get their food. At the end of November, New York City passed a rule that requires food delivery companies (like Uber EatsDoorDash, and GrubHub) to pay their delivery drivers a minimum of $17.96 an hour before tip or a 50 cents per minute delivery rate, the Street reported.

While Uber, DoorDash, and GrubHub teamed up to block the rule, they failed. “The city’s insistence on forging ahead with such an extreme pay rate will reduce opportunity and increase costs for all New Yorkers,” DoorDash spokesperson Eli Scheinholtz said of the decision, according to the City.

“This minimum pay rate will guarantee our delivery workers and their families can earn a living and keep our city’s legendary restaurant industry going strong,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.

In a viral video, which has gained momentum on TikTok and X, an UberEats driver said that this rule means they’ll be able to deliver food without putting themselves in traffic danger.

“The New Food Delivery Minimum wage in NYC Promotes Safer Driving. Drivers are not forced to break traffic laws t to earn a decent wage. We now earn a .49cents a minute when on Active delivery,” @cashshinobi wrote on the text overlay of the video.

In the clip, he shows his perspective as a delivery biker (based on video context, it seems he’s on a bike instead of a car or motorcycle) on the New York roads and the traffic infractions he once might have made as a food delivery driver. There are several red lights that he says he could “easily” make a right turn on (right turns on red aren’t allowed in New York City) or pass through the street. “But why would I do that,” he says.

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He also shows two cars he says he could try to squeeze through. But instead, he decides to “stay here and wait. Let the time run. Follow the traffic. That’s what you do.”

In a TikTok direct message, the driver told the Dot that before the rule was passed, many drivers used multiple apps to make $20 to $25 an hour.

“A typical work day would be around 15 hrs of non stop moving stitching and pairing offers across multiple apps to net around $300. Breaking traffic laws was a must there was no way possible for me to make 250-300 a day without crossing redlights on empty streets or weaving through traffic,” he wrote.

He added that while it’s “cool” when a bike messenger weaves through the street, it’s a safety hazard for “us and pedestrians” when done on a motorized bike. “This new law that pays us .49 cents a minute during active time reduces the anxiety associated with earning a decent days pay,” he wrote.

Several commenters said that with this new rule, they were concerned it would affect when their food gets to them. Some stated that if drivers were making more, they no longer felt the need to tip.

“my food better be hot by the time you get to me,” a person said.

“Great, drivers are making good wage. No more tipping,” another wrote.

“so you drive real slow then?” a commenter asked.

In the response @cashshinobi cleared up that he doesn’t have to drive slow since the speed limit in the city is already only 20 to 25 miles an hour.

“Most of the deliveries are within neighborhood streets. We never get on highways. So there is no need to speed,” he said.

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