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Contxto – Last week, judge Roberto Gallardo pressured the Argentinian government to ban all last-mile delivery apps until adequate security measures are properly implemented. This is the latest advancement in Argentina after delivery drivers in Córdoba unionized and launched their own app to boycott Rappi plus similar services.
Rappi, Glovo and PedidosYa could be facing some serious road bumps if the Argentine government follows the civil servant’s request. The question is – will officials listen the court’s request or allow it to fall by the wayside? If action is taken, new stipulations will create stricter protocols.
For example, drivers would have to use helmets in addition to storing delivery boxes on vehicles instead of being worn as backpacks. All delivery men and women would also need to carry their healthcare credentials and accident insurance policy if revisions go through. Moreover, vehicles would need to be equipped with proper signals for nighttime driving.
Last December, the Administrative and Tax Litigation Court presented measures to promote bike drivers’ integrity and public safety. Nonetheless, although these measures were transferred to the executive for review, they have never been acted on.
Following this, the head of the court demanded local representative to implement new economic and social measures to protect drivers from their inherently risky jobs. The number of food delivery drivers has increased exponentially over the years, yet there aren’t any regulations to protect them.
“From the official information provided by the Ministry of Health, it appears that in the duration of one month and only in relation to the public hospitals of the city, there were 25 accidents on public roads involving motorcycle or bicycle drivers affected by accidents, courier service and/or home delivery,” said the court document.
Rappi expressed disapproval of the amendment and intends to appeal the judicial action. According to the company’s statement, legislative changes would “affect the entire urban courier industry and home delivery of food substances in the city (of Buenos Aires) and puts at risk sources of incomes for thousands of people.”
I’m bittersweet on this one. While I encourage entrepreneurship and technology to improve people’s overall quality of life – plus, I love food – there’s certainly something missing when it comes to protecting drivers’ physical security.
Regulations always lag behind innovation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t catch up. It would be a mistake for entrepreneurs to think they’ll have open ground to do whatever they want if they’re believers in the “do first, ask for forgiveness later” philosophy.
While I think free-market policies encourage entrepreneurship more than tight regulations, there are some things the private sector won’t necessarily look after. Then and only then is when I believe the government should take action, such as this case.
To regulate every driver will be complicated if not impossible, and the company can only do so much to ensure adherence to the new rules. When all is said and done, it will ultimately be the drivers’ responsibility to implement the measures or not. How they will be held accountable may be the next topic of conversation. Stay tuned for more.
Photo by: El Universal