February 21, 2024

Grubhub is launching a pilot program I’m kiddinga New York City-based docking e-bike rental platform, is offering at least 500 gig delivery workers the opportunity to use e-bikes for free.

Ensuring delivery workers have access to high-quality e-bikes has been a major point of discussion in New York City following a spate of battery fires. Grubhub’s partnership with Joco follows the delivery platform’s $100,000 grant to the FDNY Foundation to help spread awareness and safe practices for using lithium-ion batteries.

Grubhub is also actively working to establish a battery recycling program to accept uncertified e-bikes, the company said.

“Delivery workers are critical to thousands of communities and businesses, including Grubhub, and helping keep them safe — and the safety of all New Yorkers — is a top priority,” said Amy Perlik Healy, vice president of government relations at Grubhub, said in a statement“These new partnerships are an extension of our ongoing work to address delivery partners’ safe access to e-bikes and disposal of batteries as we explore any reasonable means to prevent future tragic fires.”

The Grubhub pilot with Joco will begin in mid-June, according to the companies. Certain Grubhub deliveries will earn Joco points, which they can spend on some daily, daily or weekly e-bike rentals. Workers will have access to Joco’s 55 stations and 1,000 bicycles in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Grubhub also plans to sponsor a Joco rest stop center for delivery workers in downtown Manhattan, where they can relax, use restrooms, charge their phones, swap bikes with dead batteries for fully charged ones, and access delivery rider gear .

Joco says its battery charging cabinets are fireproof and have been tested at a nationally accredited testing laboratory. The batteries are certified according to the IEC 62133 standard, the company said.

Joco originally launched in New York in 2021 as a rival to Citi Bike. The startup is trying to sidestep the exclusive supplier agreement Lyft-owned Citi Bike has with the Department of Transportation by placing its docked bikes in private parking lots rather than on public property. However, Lyft sued the startup, so Joco decided to shift its focus to gig economy workers.

Jonathan Cohen, Joco’s co-founder, said the initial pilot will run for six months and is expected to expand from there.

“We want to help the delivery community as much as possible, and we want to make sure that delivery people have easy access to a safe vehicle, which is not easy in today’s environment,” Cohen told TechCrunch.