NYC is turning empty newsstands into hubs for food delivery workers

Earlier this week, New York City mayor Eric Adams and US Senate majority leader Charles Schumer announced that the city has secured $1 million in federal funds to transform existing infrastructures like vacant newsstands into rest hubs for the town’s 65,000 delivery workers.

Given the conditions that the employees work in, this is clearly a big deal. Street Deliveristas Hubs has been tasked with the creation of the stations, where workers will be able to charge their cell phones and electric bikes, find resources to repair their modes of transportation and seek shelter from rain and cold.

Although the funds for the project are part of the federal budget that is currently awaiting congressional approval, the program, the first of its kind in the United States, seems to be pretty organized already. The plan involves opening the hubs in high-trafficked neighborhoods, asking both local communities and the delivery workers themselves to offer their respective suggestions.

Following a study from Los Deliveristas, the first such rest stop would open near City Hall, considered the most convenient spot for a break.

“Deliveristas are out there doing the hard work, day in and day out, and are essential to New Yorkers’ way of life and to our city’s economy, and essential workers deserve essential services,” the mayor said in an official statement about the development. “While most people have a break room to rest while at work, app-based food delivery workers do not. By investing in existing, underused spaces, like vacant newsstands, this program will ensure our public spaces serve all and ‘Get Stuff Done’ for some of our hardest working New Yorkers.”

The announcement follows a set of bills that passed in New York City last year, all aimed at improving working conditions for app-based employees. Delivery workers, for example, can now use the bathrooms inside the restaurants where they pick up food to distribute. 

Those last set of regulations were sparked by the employees’ work throughout the pandemic. Not only did the drivers help restaurants stay afloat while the eateries were on lockdown, but they also allowed New Yorkers to access food from all around the city. It’s only fair the city finally provides them with they support they deserve.

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