Grubhub has partnered with Joco, a docked e-bike rental platform, to launch a pilot program aimed at providing at least 500 gig delivery workers with free access to high-quality e-bikes. This move comes in the wake of battery fires that have raised concerns about delivery worker safety in New York City. Grubhub has been proactive in addressing these concerns, having previously issued a $100,000 grant to the FDNY Foundation to spread awareness about safe practices for using lithium-ion batteries.
According to Amy Perlik Healy, Vice President of Government Relations at Grubhub, “delivery workers are essential to thousands of communities and businesses, including Grubhub’s, and helping to ensure their safety – and the safety of all New Yorkers – is a top priority.” Grubhub’s pilot with Joco will commence in mid-June, with certain Grubhub delivery workers receiving Joco credits that they may use for partial day, daily, or weekly e-bike rentals. The workers will have access to Joco’s 55 stations and 1,000 bikes located throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Moreover, Grubhub plans to sponsor a Joco rest stop hub for delivery workers in downtown Manhattan where they can recharge their phones, relax, use the bathroom, switch out bikes with dead batteries for fully charged ones, and access delivery rider gear. Joco says its battery charging cabinets are fireproof and have been tested at a nationally recognized testing laboratory. The batteries are certified to IEC 62133 standard, the company says.
Joco originally launched in NYC in 2021 as a competitor to Citi Bike, which is owned by Lyft. However, the startup faced legal issues after it tried to sidestep Citi Bike’s exclusive vendor agreement with the Department of Transportation by placing its docked bikes in private parking lots instead of public property. Consequently, Joco decided to pivot to target gig economy workers.
Jonathan Cohen, co-founder of Joco, expressed the hope that the initial pilot program will run for six months and expand thereafter to benefit the delivery community as much as possible. “We want to ensure that delivery riders can get safe vehicles in an easy manner, which is not something that’s easy in today’s environment,” Cohen told.