Uber Eats is quietly slashing the ranks of a little-known segment of its food-delivery workers — those who deliver orders on foot.
The ride-hailing giant’s “delivery walker” food service has existed for at least five years worldwide in large cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Singapore. But in recent weeks, those without cars or bikes took to blogs and social media to ask why they are getting so few orders.
“I used to do 10-15 deliveries a day but the past two days I have received only one assignment on my app,” a walker who did not want to be identified told The Post. “Uber Eats delivery walkers are shocked, confused, and left with no explanation from the company as to why walkers are being phased out.”
“I’ve only made $20 in the last 4 days. Literally no offers coming up,” an UberEats walker posted on Reddit in April. Another added, “I did it evenings when I had nothing to do. Got an email from Uber last week saying I should get a bike 🙁 .”
Uber insists that UberEats walkers haven’t been marked for extinction.
“We have not phased out couriers who deliver on foot,” Uber spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein told The Post in a statement. “We are simply encouraging couriers to bike when possible to ensure the most reliable delivery times for consumers. In that vein, we are also connecting our couriers to information on discounted bike rentals.”
Nevertheless, UberEats walkers complain that not only has the company been cagey, its clampdown has been severe.
“After a couple days of getting told that my account is fine and it’s probably just an issue with demand,” wrote another walker on Reddit, “I finally talked to a customer service agent who did a little bit of a deeper look, and told me that the walking option is basically being removed from my city. He switched me over to cyclist, and I immediately started getting orders again.”
Uber says walkers make up only a small percentage of deliveries in New York City and the other urban markets where the service is active. This weekend, blogger Ethan Bowman reported that the delivery radius for UberEats walkers had shrunk to about 400 meters — a “ridiculously low” figure that’s down from as much as 1,300 meters before the clampdown.
“You’d have to camp yourself in a 24/hour restaurant surrounded by apartment buildings just to get any orders,” Bowman wrote on his blog GripRoom. “At this point, Uber should just remove the walking option because they’re treating the walkers like disposable garbage.”
“Instead of facing the heat from laying off thousands of workers, they’re forcing them to quit,” he added. “In a month or so they’ll be able to shut down the program ‘due to a lack of interest.’ “