Following an outpour of complaints from Councilmember Julie Menin’s Upper East Side constituents regarding the dangers that the GoPuff’s delivery service drivers are posing on their community, Menin took action on Tuesday directly addressing the CEO and founders of the company to express her concerns and demand action.
The grievances all stem from GoPuff’s micro-fulfillment center on 1356 Lexington Avenue, where drivers are dispatched and at your door in as little as “15-20 minutes,” according to their website. While this guarantee is convenient for customers, it poses a serious threat to nearby pedestrians, as reports of delivery service workers on motorized scooters or bicycles driving down sidewalks at dangerous speeds or in the opposite direction of traffic have increased in recent months.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that GoPuff is prioritizing delivery times over pedestrian and delivery workers’ safety,” said Council Member Menin. “As a former Commissioner of the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, this company is engaging in false and misleading claims that are causing potential safety hazards and violating our consumer protection laws.”
Menin witnessed these hazards first hand recently, when she was on a walk with her three-year-old daughter and one of the delivery cyclists, riding in the wrong direction in the bike lane, almost struck her daughter.
GoPuff’s slogan, “daily essentials delivered in minutes,” has heavily contributed to these unsafe conditions, Menin believes, as the unachievable pledge of delivering goods in the very limited time frame, leaves delivery drivers to adopt “grave traffic risks” to meet these guarantees.
The delivery service was launched in 2013 by Co-founders and CEOs, Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, where, with the help of the stay at home order during the pandemic forcing people to buy food online, GoPuff’s business boomed. Since then, hundreds of locations have emerged, with approximately 10,000 employees delivering to customers in over 1,000 cities in the U.S. and Europe— with stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
In the address to Ilishayev and Gola, Menin goes on to mention that the current threatening conditions may constitute a public nuisance in violation of the nuisance law, which “prohibits conditions that endanger the public or public spaces.”
Residents living near the fulfillment center have also reported numerous noise complaints, due to the delivery workers loitering outside “at all hours of the day and night,” and delivery drivers idling in their vehicles for long periods of time, trapping residents’ cars until delivery drivers finally move.
The constant noise presents not only a nuisance but a serious environmental hazard for the neighborhood as well, according to Menin, who has warned GoPuff of her plans to take these concerns to The New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police (DEP).
An attempt to contact GoPuff was made, however they were unavailable for a comment.
“These different constituent complaints present a concerning picture about your company’s business practices and their effects on the environment, on traffic safety, and more generally on the quality of life in the neighborhood,” Menin stated.