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The Gopuff app flouts traffic rules delivering snacks in Manhattan

New Yorkers’ love-hate relationship with quick grocery delivery apps is heating up as one of the biggest has started using cars alongside bikes and scooters, The Post has learned.

Well-funded start-up Gopuff is looking for delivery drivers who drive cars, even as city congestion slows traffic to a crawl – and some locals complain that idle and double-parked delivery trucks are “ruining their quality.” “. of life.”

On the Upper East Side, Gopuff drivers regularly sit in their cars for up to 30 minutes at a time across from a Gopuff location on Lexington Avenue between East 89th and East 90th Streets, neighbors say.

The same unmarked cars are repeatedly parked in front of an apartment building and shops while drivers wait for packages to be delivered – but the space is reserved for commercial vehicles to stop and deliver, neighbors complain. Cars picking up Gopuff goods don’t have the requisite commercial license plates, locals complain.

Drivers also enter through the store’s employee entrance and indicate they are not customers, neighbors say.

Gopuff told The Post that it uses cars for suburban deliveries, but said that “delivering orders by car in Manhattan is a violation of our stated expectations.”

Marco Botarelli, who is across from the store on Lexington Ave. 1349, disputes Gopuff’s claim.

“They hang around in their cars while their music is on,” Botarelli told the Post in reference to Gopuff drivers. “And there’s never a spot for us if we have to park a few minutes in front of our building.”

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“They hang around in their cars while their music is on,” said Marco Botarelli, a Carnegie Hill resident, of Gopuff
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Local business owners are also fed up with the situation.

“The plumbers, the grocers and other handymen who have proper license plates can’t park in front of the stores they serve because of these cars,” said John Miklatek, who owns a health food store in the area called Food Liberation.

Neighbors say Gopuff has been using cars in New York since at least February, when Carnegie Hill councilwoman Julie Menin sent a letter to its co-founders and CEOs, Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, to complain that “Gopuff delivery vehicles double parked for a long time left time to lock up residents’ cars until the delivery drivers finally come to move their vehicles.”

Gopuff informed Menin that it would review the car complaints.

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Gopuff drivers park in commercial vehicle lots despite not having the appropriate license plates.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

“It’s important to Gopuff that we’re good neighbors,” Gopuff said. “This includes listening to our neighbors and working with them to address any concerns – something we do on a regular basis.”

Menin has introduced legislation to regulate the industry through the Department of Consumers, which would grant licenses to these companies.

“You can’t have unregistered cars taking over a block and neighborhoods without regulation,” Menin told The Post.

The news comes after months of complaints from neighbors and local politicians about delivery people on electric bikes and scooters breaking traffic rules, The Post reports. Menin said she and her three-year-old daughter were almost run over by a delivery driver who was riding a moped on the sidewalk.

Yakir Gola, co-founder and co-CEO of Gopuff
Carnegie Hill City Council member Julie Menin sent a letter to Gopuff co-founders and CEOs Yakir Gola (pictured) and Rafael Ilishayev to complain about delivery vehicles.
AFP via Getty Images

Gopuff’s previously unreported use of cars in New York City was so under the radar that even one of the industry’s biggest critics, City Councilman Gale Brewer, was unaware that he was using drivers.

“When Gopuff uses cars for deliveries, they exacerbate congestion and pollution,” Brewer told The Post, accusing Gopuff and other startups of “coming into town, flipping local laws, and pulling as much out of our neighborhoods as possible.”

For the past week, Gopuff has posted delivery driver vacancies on online job boards, including in certain New York City neighborhoods such as the Lower East Side, NoHo, Upper West Side and Seaport in Manhattan, as well as in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

Gopuff insisted to The Post that it doesn’t actually hire riders in Manhattan and that the ads were meant to attract bike messengers.

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Gopuff offers fast delivery of groceries and other household items.
Courtesy of Gopuff

The advertisements state that drivers must be at least 21 years old and have their own vehicle with proof of insurance.

Other grocery delivery apps Gorillas, Getir and Jokr confirmed to The Post that they never use cars for deliveries in New York.

Sarah Kaufman, a transit expert and professor at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation, said she was baffled by the decision to use cars for deliveries in congested Manhattan.

“I’m honestly surprised they find using a car, especially in Manhattan, more efficient than using other forms of transportation because I imagine they spend a lot of time sitting in traffic,” Kaufman told the Post . “Adding cars to the streets of New York City is the last thing we want to do right now, so I’m disappointed to hear that’s happening.”

But Brittain Ladd, a retail consultant who has worked with fast-delivery companies like Gopuff, said the switch to car deliveries could make sense to help the company cut costs amid pressure from investors.

While distributing multiple orders with one driver will likely increase delivery times for Gopuff customers, especially in heavily congested neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, Ladd said multiple deliveries from one vehicle mean lower labor costs. A single rider can handle multiple deliveries at the same time, while bike couriers are more limited in their transport capacity, according to Ladd.

“The model is broken,” said the consultant, referring to delivery apps that rely on bike and scooter couriers. “Gopuff is just experimenting with changing the model to reduce costs.”

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“Gopuff is just experimenting with changing the model to lower its costs,” said retail consultant Brittain Ladd.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

Gopuff’s switch to drivers comes weeks after the company laid off hundreds of employees to cut costs amid an economic slump that’s making it harder for unprofitable tech companies to raise money.

Similar public companies like Doordash and Grubhub’s parent company, Just Eat Takeaway, have seen share prices plummet by 55% or more so far this year, increasing the pressure on private delivery apps like Gopuff to justify their valuations. The switch to drivers could help placate “impatient” investors who want the company to cut additional costs, Ladd said.

Gopuff previously raised money in July 2021 with a valuation of $15 billion, but has since seen its valuation tank in the aftermarket, The Post exclusively reported in March.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/11/gopuff-app-snubs-traffic-laws-delivering-snacks-in-manhattan/ The Gopuff app flouts traffic rules delivering snacks in Manhattan

JACLYN DIAZ

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