Chandigarh: The ongoing pandemic and the subsequent lockdown had the whole country staying in the safety of their homes. As the country stayed in Quarantine and practiced Social Distancing to flatten the curve for COVID 19, having essentials at home to survive during lockdown was of crucial concern. Restraints like containment zones, far flung areas, homes of elederly and people with respiratory issues or low immunity, made it a challenge to get everyday essentials easily.
The State Governments and many e-commerce businesses like Bigbasket, Grofers, Spencers, Big Bazaar started providing home delivery of essentials to help people in such distress. The last mile connectivity challenge for them was addressed by ride-sharing companies like Rapido, who ensured and still are ensuring that people stay at home and continue maintaining social distancing.
Rapido, India's largest bike taxi company, extended their B2B services and partnered with these e-commerce businesses for the last mile delivery. This enabled easy scheduling of delivery and also helped in maintaining the livelihood of Rapido Captains (Drivers) during the toughest period faced by the company. Rapido had 25% of its fleet running on the road delivering groceries and other essentials across India during the lockdown.
These warriors have been on the road during the time of lockdown risking their lives but ensuring the delivery of essentials across the country, while following and ensuring all the safety measures to help maintain wellbeing and life continuity. Today, post lockdown they are instrumental in helping blue-collared workers, healthcare workers, sanitation workers and many that are out there to maintain normalcy, with last mile connectivity. These Rapido Captains (drivers) are on the job as connecting the dots for many of us helping millions of Indians to stay and work from home to fight the pandemic.
Here are some of the #HelmetHeroes on their fight against Covid 19, maintaining safety and facing challenges while keeping us all safe :
Kamal Raj, Bengaluru
Kamal Raj from Bangalore is a young 23-year old, delivers milk every morning from 3 am-7 am along with a few essentials like bread or vegetables. He says, “I had Rapido as my only job and if delivering milk on the morning feeds my family, then why not. I don't come in contact with the customers as we are not allowed to enter the society premises. But every day, I delivered milk for 75-100 families. In the early days, it was challenging when I was stopped at checkpoints by police as it used to delay my delivery time. But since I got my essential services pass done, I could quickly deliver and go back to the safety of my home.”
He mentions that he gets safety essentials like gloves and masks before every pickup but also maintains personal hygiene routine like using hand sanitizer before and after every delivery. He feels like he is doing his part of social service as during these times as many people still can't step out of their houses to even buy milk for themselves.
Mustafa was previously employed with Volvo and runs an IT service cab company, started as a Rapido Captain seven months back to deliver essential groceries. He says, “On average, I deliver about 20 orders a day winding through the city. The virus threat is not daunting for me as I take good care of maintaining distance and hygiene, sanitize regularly and change my gloves after every delivery. Once home, I also make sure to have a bath to allay all fears of my family.”
On asking about any difference he sees from the Covid deliveries to now, he says the difference between now and before is that everyone follows protocol from drivers, to attendees to customers. “I only make an exception for the elderly or the women, where I go and deliver at their door-step.”
Pasha, as the earning member of the family, has 14 mouths to feed, back at home in Gulbarga Karnataka. He bravely gets on the road every day to provide essential goods and groceries through Big Basket-Rapido tie-up. He came to know about Rapido only after coming to Hyderabad in search of a job as a delivery person. Since the lockdown, he has been left with a massive hole in his monthly earnings.
Even though no one would like to step out, putting themselves at risk, Pasha braves the same to ensure his family and millions of us sitting at home get to have food on the table. He ensures safety precautions like masks, gloves and sanitizers are carried out after every delivery. Rapido ensures he follows safety regulations and uses the kit given to him. The company also has a backend and feedback mechanism to check on the safety of the captain regularly.
Aanand Teja, Bengaluru
Aanand is the sole earner in his family and has been with Rapido for six months now. He has pursued BCA and was previously working in a BPO. Working with Rapido gives him the option of time and convenience while earning for the family.
During the lockdown, he started delivering essentials to fulfil his family needs. The area that he plies in allows deliveries only between 12-3 pm. While he often ran into police checks, he believes they were necessary during those initial days. Aanand ensures all safety checks- masks, sanitizers, gloves – while on duty. His wife though, sometimes gets afraid because there are lots of cases outside but he doesn't have any other option right now to earn money.
Bharat Chauhan, Delhi
Bharat Chauhan, from Noida, joined Rapido on the recommendation from his friends. The decision to join Rapido was easy as he had a vehicle and needed a good-paying job. During the lockdown, Bharat was delivering groceries. When he steps out of the house these days to work, he motivates himself by thinking of all the people he will be helping with the deliveries and in turn, helping his family by reducing their financial burdens.
He remembers during the start of the lockdown; he was often halted at checkpoints for checking his deliveries. Since he was helped by Rapido with an essential pass it became easier for him. For safety against the virus, he uses the kit provided by Rapido of the mask, hand sanitizer and gloves. He also ensures to wash his hands with soap and water before every delivery pickups. At the end of the day, before he enters his house, he maintains a strict routine of washing his hands and sanitizing himself to protect not only himself but also his children who love to welcome him with a hug.