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Help Wanted: Whole Foods Needs Cyclists To Deliver Groceries

1:33 PM EDT on March 17, 2020

The Whole Foods bike gang awaits. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

They're looking for a few good legs.

Just as many service workers and gig-economy employees are suddenly without work due to coronacrisis shutdowns, Whole Foods says needs it needs scores of new cyclists to bring groceries to people who are keeping their distance from their neighbors.

The chain, which is owned by Amazon, has been participating in the city's cargo e-bike delivery pilot through the Dutch Express Courier Service, which is technically doing the hiring.

The job listing (here) does not specify the rate of pay, but Austin Horse, who has been delivering with the company for several months, said riders make $13.35 an hour, which can end up as much as $25 an hour with tips.

Applicants must pass a road test. Horse said Dutch Express isn't looking for cowboys to blast through red lights. It's crucial to follow traffic laws under normal circumstances, but also when riders are hauling trailers with 50 pounds of supplies.

"If you know how to ride a bike in the city, if you know how to move and be mindful then you'll good," Horse said.

The grocery store chain is the biggest company participating in the city's pilot program for e-bike deliveries, with roughly 100 electric-assist Dutch Express bike-trailer tandems on the road. DHL and UPS are also experimenting with a single electric cargo bike out of their existing West Side depots. The city has not created staging areas for a wider expansion of cargo deliveries, and Whole Foods delivery riders have been accused of taking up valuable space on the sidewalk before officials figure out where they can load up.

But a wider expansion of the delivery program is especially welcome during the virus crisis, Horse said, because people who are currently out of work can get a job, stay in shape and, most important, keep people from packing the aisles of upscale grocery stores.

In-person job applications can be filled out at Dutch Express (13 W. 38th St., third floor), 9-11 a.m., Monday to Thursday. The online application is here.

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