UPS trucks are a common sight in Fresno-area neighborhoods as the holiday shipping season reaches its peak. But don’t be surprised if you see UPS using a slower, lower-tech (and quieter) vehicle to deliver packages – a bicycle.
UPS has geared up for the holidays by adding bicycles (and small bike trailers) to its delivery team.
“UPS has about a dozen or so bicycles in some suburban residential areas of Fresno,” said Susan Rosenberg, UPS public relations director. The program has been going on for at least five years.
Bicycles are used in many places including Ventura, Santa Barbara, Portland, areas of Arizona, Texas and Florida. In Florida, UPS also uses golf carts.
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“Using bikes and golf carts is a creative solution to use with our seasonal workforce of delivery helpers in an efficient manner to deal with increased residential delivery that has grown from online commerce,” Rosenberg said. “Decisions to use (bicycles) can be influenced by the terrain of a delivery area.”
UPS has used delivery helpers for decades to augment its normal force for the holidays.
“Some ride with drivers, while others meet drivers on route and are stationed primarily in residential areas,” Rosenberg said. Some cyclists are placed in their own neighborhoods because they know the area better.
Using bikes and golf carts is a creative solution to use with our seasonal workforce of delivery helpers.
Susan Rosenberg, UPS public relations director
In certain neighborhoods, UPS has stored pods for packages for these workers to deliver from.
“We have secured storage units located in the neighborhoods. The cycles and trailers are stored in the pods overnight,” Rosenberg said. “The helper meets the driver on route at the storage location, gets the equipment while assisting the driver to unload packages into the storage unit for this area. The driver proceeds to other delivery areas on route and the helpers – both on foot and the cyclists – deliver in the suburban residential areas.”
Cyclists finish their deliveries before it gets dark, and then any packages left in the pod get delivered by trucks and other seasonal helpers on foot.
Rosenberg said the cyclists do safety checks on the mountain bikes before they’re used, just like a truck driver would.
“Our delivery cyclists have safety training, are provided helmets and reflective vests and daily ‘pre-trip’ their cycles as a driver would check equipment on his or her truck. Tires, reflectors, chains, etc. These are mountain bikes that have attached trailers,” she said.
A benefit of the bike program is that it reduces truck traffic, allowing for bicycles to make deliveries without waking up the neighborhood.
“The environmental and economic benefits are obvious: reduced noise and fuel conservation and in many cases, earlier residential deliveries,” Rosenberg said. “UPS reduces energy usage, fuel consumption and emissions while providing an economical way to conduct business.”