Delivery Drivers

Delivery drivers: Workers in this sector seem to face similar challenges as those in ride hailing, for instance, barriers to entry, no labor unions or social protection schemes. Some of the ways they differ from ride-hailing is having more options to choose from (e.g., parcels, food or people) and easier navigation despite existing traffic conditions. According to some studies, riders prefer parcel delivery as it offers a less stressful experience. Riders express a grim picture of a fast-paced working life, driven by the algorithm. The algorithm sets the delivery time, regardless of prevailing conditions outside the rider’s control. Many studies outline unfair rating, predominantly left in the hands of the clients with little redress mechanisms from the drivers.

Find references for this section at the bottom of this page or see the PDF for in-text citations.

Logistic platforms have similar challenges as ride hailing; for instance, the algorithm control issues resulting from “too many orders at the same time” (Anwar and Graham 2020), timing issues, and issues with customers:

I was notified that I got permanently suspended [putus mitra]. I was not aware of what I did wrong. Long story short, I found out that a customer who ordered Go-send [courier service] complained that she didn’t get her stuff delivered. But, I delivered it to her office, but when I arrived, I was not allowed to go upstairs to her office. I called her like 20 times, but she didn’t pick up. I texted her and I waited for 30 minutes, until my phone’s battery was running out. So I gave it to the receptionist in the lobby. I texted the customer. I apologize if I did wrong by leaving it at the receptionist’s. I told her that I did not steal it and I was not a thief. She responded, “No worries, I already found it, it was in the security room.” Then I told her that I was laid off because of her complaint. She said, “Well, it’s not my fault. I could not contact you. So, I reported to Gojek.” …I asked her to call the Gojek office to revoke her complaint, so I can be allowed to work. Then she said, “I am a busy person, I have no time to deal with your business! You’re their employee, you should tell Gojek yourself!” (Nastiti 2017, 25).

Logistics platforms are also characterized by lack of unions and barriers to entry since one requires “a motorcycle, valid ID, and driver’s license, and Rp. 100 thousand balance in your Ovo wallet” (Budiman, Hernandez, and Roest 2020). Furthermore, the more the riders, the less the pay.

I earned a hefty wage in 2017…in April or May, I made about ¥10,000 ($1,455) a month. There were few riders then and many subsidies. After people heard the stories about how good food-delivery was paid, they all came. The more workers are available, the less subsidies are offered. The pay is just average now (Chen, Sun, and Qiu 2020, 24) 

Logistics differ from ride-hailing platforms in various ways. First, they have several options to choose from; they prefer parcel delivery. Second, they have a uniform they pay for. Lastly, they have more flexibility due to easier mobility. For instance, one can roam around a 25km radius without minding going further to deliver packages (Budiman, Hernandez, and Roest 2020).


Anwar, Mohammad Amir, and Mark Graham. 2020. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Freedom, Flexibility, Precarity and Vulnerability in the Gig Economy in Africa.” Competition & Change, April, 102452942091447.

Budiman, Bido, Emilio Hernandez, and Joep Roest. 2020. “Ride-Hailing Drivers in Indonesia Discuss Livelihoods, COVID-19.” CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) (blog). July 21, 2020.

Chen, Julie Yujie, Sophie Ping Sun, and Jack Linchuan Qiu. 2020. “Deliver on the Promise of the Platform Economy.” Bengaluru, India: IT for Change.

Nastiti, Aulia D. 2017. “Worker Unrest and Contentious Labor Practice of Ride-Hailing Services in Indonesia 1.” In Arryman Symposium. Jakarta: Buffett Institute, Northwestern University.—arryman-paper,-evanston-symposium,-may-13.pdf.