Baemin partners with Kickgoing on scooter deliveries

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Baemin partners with Kickgoing on scooter deliveries

Food delivery motorcycles of Baedal Minjok, also known as Baemin, are parked in the company's rider center in southern Seoul. [NEWS1]

Food delivery motorcycles of Baedal Minjok, also known as Baemin, are parked in the company's rider center in southern Seoul. [NEWS1]

 
Food delivery platform Baedal Minjok, also known as Baemin, teamed up with electric scooter firm Kickgoing to increase the number of delivery drivers.
 
Olulo, operator of Kickgoing, announced on April 16 that it will partner with Baemin to offer a 30 percent discount on e-scooter fees for Baemin Connectors. Baemin Connectors are Baemin’s part-time delivery workers, available for delivery at time slots of their choice.
 
This isn’t the first partnership between shared mobility services and food delivery platforms. Kickgoing in January provided the same 30 percent discount for food delivery workers of Coupang Eats, Coupang’s food delivery service. Coupang Eats also teamed up with Beam, another e-scooter sharing service, and provided 20,000 Kickgoing points to 500 delivery riders. Bike sharing app Elecle also put out an exclusive payment plan for Coupang Eats delivery personnel, providing a 40 to 70 percent discount.
 
The food delivery market is flourishing, and food delivery services are competing to attract more delivery riders.
 
Food delivery has been growing fast since last year due to increased food deliveries amid strict social distancing measures of the pandemic. In February, delivery order transactions totaled 1.8 trillion won ($1.7 billion), up 64 percent compared to the same period the previous year.  
 
 
Increased demand for food deliveries translated to a greater demand for delivery workers. There were120,000 delivery workers as of August last year, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), but the food delivery companies are expected to face more severe shortages of delivery personnel than last year.  
 
Previously, one food delivery worker was assigned multiple orders – usually five at a time – and delivered them all at once. This has recently been changed as Coupang Eats only assigns one order per rider, enabling faster deliveries.  
 
With Coupang Eats now known as the fastest delivery app, other food delivery platforms are also scrambling to shorten their delivery times.  
 
In June, Baemin will introduce Baemin One, a faster delivery service that limits riders to deliver one order at a time. WeMakePrice’s food delivery service WeMakePrice O is also in the process of preparing similar services.  
 
More delivery riders are crucial to the one delivery per one rider system, making food delivery services turn to part-time workers. With part-time workers given freedom to work during time slots of their choice, an increasing number of Koreans are considering food delivery as a short and easy side job. There are 50,000 Baemin Connectors as of December last year, of which 10,000 are actively working today, according to Baemin.  
 
Food delivery apps like Coupang Eats and Baemin are vying to recruit even more part-time workers with e-scooter benefits.  
 
Part-time delivery workers have to pay for their own transportation, unlike full-time riders who can rent motorcycles from delivery platforms. For them, discounts on e-scooters is an additional perk that helps them lower their operating costs.
 
The two-wheeled vehicles also allow part-time workers who deliver on foot to receive more delivery orders. Pedestrian delivery workers are limited to food deliveries in a one-kilometer radius, but when using e-scooters, they can take delivery orders from a two-kilometer radius.  
 
According to the Seoul city government, there were 36,740 e-scooters in Seoul as of August last year. With sharing mobility firms aggressively expanding the number of e-scooters, some 50,000 scooters are estimated to exist in the country today. Businesses are looking for ways to increase their user numbers, and the huge number of delivery riders is an opportunity to achieve that.  
Although food delivery apps are welcoming partnerships with electric scooter sharing services, safety is an issue.  
 
According to the National Police Agency, the number of e-scooter accidents hit 897 last year, a dramatic rise from 2017’s 117. The two-wheeled vehicles are allowed in bike lanes, which is dangerous for both riders and pedestrians because some 80 percent of Korea’s walkways are placed next to bike lanes.
 
“Speed is important in food deliveries, and the increase of part-time food delivery riders could lead to a surge in accident risks,” said Lee Ho-geun, a professor of Department of Automotive Engineering in Daeduk University. “Companies will need to come up with protective measures.”
 
 
BY PARK MIN-JE [lee.taehee2@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
 
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