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December 14, 2018

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App helps to keep fast food fast without breaking the traffic rules

In the Pudong New Area, police are using an app to record the copious traffic offenses of food deliverymen in a renewed effort to clamp down on those who ignore traffic rules.

The app is installed on the phones of both police officers and deliverymen, replacing paper booklets previously kept by the deliverymen.

Repeat offenders are now faced not just with fines from the police, but penalties from their employers.

If a deliveryman accrues 12 points within three months due to traffic offenses, he has to take a test through the app before he is allowed to work again.

If he somehow manages to gather 24 points within three months, the unfortunate speedster will be suspended from work until he has worked for at least an hour as a traffic volunteer.

If he is so determined to bring us our dinner on time that he gets 36 points within three months then he hits the road, permanently. Or rather he doesn’t. That’s when he’ll be fired.

For the most common offences — riding the wrong direction or in a no-bike zone or parking where he’s not supposed to — three points are awarded.

For riding through a red light, using an illegal bike (often much faster than legal ones) or riding an e-bike in a motor lane, the penalty is six points.

The app is now installed in the phones of 3,700 full-time ele.me deliverymen, a leading delivery company, and will gradually be extended to cover their part-time staff too.

Yang Kang, 25, has been working for ele.me in the Lujiazui area for about a year, and installed the app two weeks ago. He’s fully aware of the danger of traffic offenses to his own safety, but “under some special circumstances” — by which he meant when he would be late — he rode through red lights and was punished by the police several times.

“The app tries to put us on a regime similar to a driving license, which is quite strict,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s down to the enforcement of the rules.”

Yang said orders he takes from the company have become more “reasonable” so that he doesn’t have to rush all the time on delivery “missions impossible,” and his supervisor makes sure that only those proved to be late for a delivery due to “idling” will be fined.

Traffic police have been waging a campaign against offenses by pedestrians, cyclists and e-bike riders since the beginning of the year, and food deliverymen, due to their huge numbers, have been most hit

In Xuhui District, there’s no such app, but police have made a habit of attending the deliverymen’s morning meetings. Officers also connect with supervisors through WeChat groups to report serious or repeat offenses.

Jiang Zhicheng, a supervisor of a group of 100 deliverymen working for meituan.com in Shilong, said it is never enough because deliverymen come and go a lot. New-comers are often more concerned about making money than about their own safety.

“I was a deliveryman myself, and now I tell my colleagues that it’s meaningless to ride through a red light just to make up one minute when you could lose a lot more in an accident,” he said.

Jiang said almost none of his deliverymen have had their wages docked due to late deliveries or complaints since the summer when the company laid more emphasis on observing traffic rules.

Wang Runda, a Xuhui traffic police officer, said fewer deliverymen have been seen running red lights recently.

“The major offenses are now riding in motor lanes and in the wrong direction,” he said.

Police sources revealed to Shanghai Daily that traffic police are experimenting a new e-bike plate for food deliverymen which street cameras can spot.

But beside the stick, there are also carrots.

Ele.me now awards 30 top deliverymen nationwide with 1,000 yuan (US$145) each every three months, based on traffic offense and work performance.




 

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