A group of Hong Kong delivery workers has stopped accepting orders from five private housing estates in Kai Tak over fears of being ticketed for illegal parking. They have urged the estates to provide temporary motorcycle spots as public parking is unavailable nearby.

Around 20 delivery workers met the press on September 28 over their boycotting campaign that calls for parking spots in some Kai Tak housing estates. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

Around 20 workers for the city’s food delivery platforms met the press at Muk Ning Street, Kai Tak, on Wednesday afternoon. The area is surrounded by newly constructed private housing complexes but lacks a variety of restaurants close by, making it a busy food delivery spot.

However, Ahmad, one of the delivery workers, told HKFP that the private housing estates did not allow them to park their motorcycles inside, and there were no nearby public parking spots for motorbikes, either.

“We don’t have any solution. What do we do with the bike?” he asked, adding that most residents were unwilling to come and collect their food at the gate.

As a result, delivery drivers risk being ticketed by the police for parking illegally whenever they deliver to customers in the area.

Delivery worker Ahmad. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

“For one delivery, we make hardly 40-something dollars, and one ticket, if we get, is HK$320. Sometimes, if [the bike is on] the double lines, it’s HK$450,” Ahmad said.

Siu Po, who has worked as a full-time delivery worker for more than 10 years, told HKFP only motorbikes were blocked from the complexes, while delivery trucks and vans were allowed to enter.

“Sometimes you cannot get in even if you offer to pay [parking fees]… it’s really miserable,” he said.

According to a statement from the participating couriers, they have stopped delivering to estates “including but not limited to” Vibe Centro, K.City, Oasis, One Kai Tak and Victoria Skye, until they were willing to provide parking spots.

Delivery worker Siu Po (middle). Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

Ahmad estimated that about 60 to 70 per cent of the few hundred riders in the local area were boycotting the estates in question, but he admitted the message had not been transmitted to everyone, and the rest were still working for customers in the concerned estates.

He said they were only asking for enough space to park four to five bikes at the same time.

Ms Wong, who works in the area told HKFP that she supported the delivery workers’ campaign. “They need to make a living as well,” she said.

Frequent inspection

Siu Po told HKFP that the police frequently patrolled the area for illegal parking, adding he had sometimes seen officers issuing tickets there four times a day.

A motorcycle with messages calling for couriers to boycott orders from the concerned area in Kai Tak. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

Ahmad said his cousin was once ticketed twice in a day and another time the next day when delivering to nearby estates. “In two days, maybe he [made] HK$2,000, and almost HK$1,100 [went] only for the tickets,” he said.

A police spokesperson told HKFP that more than 14,000 fixed penalty tickets were issued by the Ngau Tau Kok Division from June to August, 772 of them in the area in question: Muk Long Street, Muk Ning Street, Muk On Street and Muk Tai Street. “Police will take enforcement action against illegal parking to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and road safety in relevant areas,” the spokesperson said.

Hoping for platforms’ help

According to Ahmad, the two major food delivery platforms in Hong Kong – Foodpanda and Deliveroo – used to offer up to HK$640 compensation per month for riders who were ticketed for illegal parking. But the policy was abolished few years ago.

A no parking sign at Muk Ning Street, Kai Tak. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

Ahmad said he hoped the two companies could help to negotiate with the management of the estates in question to offer the parking spots as requested.

Siu Po said that Deliveroo had successfully asked Telford Plaza, a shopping mall in Kowloon Bay, to provide temporary parking spaces for delivery workers on motorcycles.

Au Gaa-wing of the Riders’ Rights Concern Group told HKFP that riders had started their boycotting campaign last Friday, and had contacted the two platforms as well as the property management departments of the concerned estates.

However, Deliveroo had not replied, while Foodpanda said it would get back to the workers later, Au said.

See also: Over 150 Hong Kong Foodpanda workers urge apology after alleged physical clash between courier and manager

Responding to an enquiry from HKFP, a Deliveroo spokesperson said that the company was aware of the issue and had “proactively contacted relevant property management entities to better understand the situation and seek appropriate solutions.” It also had shared riders’ concerns with relevant government departments and organisations, the spokesperson said.

When asked if any unfavourable consequences will follow the couriers’ boycotting campaign, the spokesperson said “[e]very Deliveroo rider is free to accept or reject any orders based on their personal considerations.”

Foodpanda told HKFP it had written to and called housing estates and property management units in the Kai Tak area, requesting them to allow delivery drivers to temporarily park their vehicles within designated areas.

According to the delivery platform, Oasis has a 15-minute temporary parking arrangement for delivery workers, although there was no such similar arrangement at the other four estates.

“If we do not receive a response from them regarding our request, we do not rule out the possibility of suspending our delivery service to those buildings until we can ensure that our couriers can deliver orders safely and legally,” it added.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.