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UPS looking to hire 49 people for seasonal bike delivery

Posted by on November 1st, 2011 at 3:25 pm

An ad from UPS for bike delivery personnel.

Shipping giant United Parcel Service is once again looking to save money on fleet vehicle costs by hiring bicycle delivery staffers during the busy holiday season.

Tomorrow in North Portland, Worksource Portland Central will host a hiring event for as many as 49 “Bicycle Delivery Helper” positions.

This isn’t the first time UPS has supplemented their holiday delivery staff with bike-mounted employees. When we first reported on this in 2008, UPS spokesman Jeff Grant told us it’s a matter of dollars and cents. “For every three bikes we use for deliveries, we save an average of 17 gallons of fuel per day (compared to one truck),” said Grant, “That’s about $50 in savings.”

Across the entire Oregon and Washington region, Grant said for every three bikes used during the holiday season, UPS will save $38,000 in vehicle operation and upkeep costs.

If you’re looking for a way to make a few extra bucks while pedaling packages around town, show up to WorkSource’s office tomorrow. More details below…

    Hiring Event #829135, Bicycle Delivery Helper
    Wednesday November 2nd, 1:00 to 5:00 pm
    Orientations at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00
    WorkSource Portland Central (30 N. Webster St)
    To Qualify: Register in iMatchSkills

And if you’re curious what the job entails, check out this great little video by Paul Lopez

UPS Delivery By Bike! Salem, Oregon from nwduffer on Vimeo.

— Thanks to the Community Cycling Center for the heads up!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • dwainedibbly November 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I like what UPS is doing, but they really ought to re-think their choice of bicycle type when it comes time to expand the program.

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    • Mindful Cyclist November 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Just kind of curious what you would think would be a better bike? Mountain bikes tend to be pretty sturdy and the gearing tends to be much more conducive to hauling 200 pounds of packages.

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    • Lester November 2, 2011 at 2:54 am

      MTBs do seem almost perfect. If they could just source some with rigid forks, I think that would be much better.

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      • Al from PA November 2, 2011 at 3:55 am

        A better bike would have smoother tires for less road resistance, and internal gears and brakes for less maintenance and easier long-term operation. Perhaps also more comfortable (“North Road” type) handlebars, again considering that the bikes will be ridden all day with lots of stopping and starting.

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  • beck November 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I’m totally fascinated by this. Thats AWESOME!

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  • Chris November 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I think the US Postal Service could learn something from this. I sometime wonder if their vehicles could not be replaced by a cargo bike.

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  • Greg November 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    What a great solution by UPS. Well done.

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  • Mike November 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Very well done UPS. That’s a very unique solution for a busy time of year. I wonder why, if it works so well during the holidays, that UPS doesn’t expand the program and make it full time especially in urban areas? I think that other delivery companies (Fed-Ex and USPS come to mind) should take a look at doing the same.

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    • Tom M November 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      The reason is efficiency. Bikes with cargo trailers work very well in heavily populated neighborhoods, the ones where the distance between stops is short and the hills aren’t too steep. Bikes make perfect delivery vehicles in this case.

      But when packages get too large or the distances between stops too large or the grade too steep efficiency goes down. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of cargo bike delivery. It’s just not a one size fits all solution. It’s a case of using the proper tool for the job.

      BTW, UPS started by delivering by bike in urban centers.

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  • Bill November 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I like what UPS is doing, but they are only paying $8.50 an hour for this position! lame…..
    they save money, get free press and offer a lousy paying job with no benefits.

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    • rain bike November 2, 2011 at 8:08 am

      Interested to hear what you think the hourly rate should be for a seasonal job such as this. Benefits? Good luck. TImes are tough, my friend. I bet they find 49 people with bikes happy for the opportunity to earn a little cash for the holidays. It would, however, be interesting to compare this to what they’re offering seasonal driver helpers. If there’s a significant differential there, then I’d join you in your outrage.

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    • Mindful Cyclist November 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

      One is going to be hard pressed to find any seasonal or temp position that offers benefits period. And, while I agree minimum wage is a crappy amount, I wonder how many people they have show up for these jobs. If there are well over the 49 people, I can see why they would pay so low. Not agreeing with it, but it all comes down to basic supply and demand.

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    • ambrown November 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

      I didn’t have a job last winter, and I worked as a UPS helper on a truck. There were at least eighty people, myself included, at the UPS center that cold November night glad to have an $8.50 an hour gig that wasn’t even full time through the holidays. I know its a raw deal, but welcome to the Portland economy circa 2011.

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    • Machu Picchu November 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      I hired on with UPS as a (non-bicycle) helper four seasons ago. We were told the Teamsters set the crappy pay, so helpers won’t be getting union pay for union work. UPS was actually going to add, like, a buck on top of that to get the wage over 9 dollars. Not really sure how that works, but that is what we were told. But I don’t think it’s supply and demand, it’s union. After a joke of a training session, then being offered routes that were not in the area (“work with a driver in your neighborhood!”) they promised, I opted not to actually work for them. AFTER I shaved my beard, because that don’t fly at UPS. It may work for you, but I was underwhelmed.

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      • Lisa November 3, 2011 at 6:55 am

        I have heard that story before and asked folks unionized at UPS about his. Apparently its a fib UPS tells to its help to inhibit worker solidarity.

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  • amckimmey November 2, 2011 at 2:17 am

    The hiring event is probably only for Portland. Does anyone know if UPS is going to be hiring people in Eugene. or if there is a number to offer my services. I would do this.

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  • Spiffy November 2, 2011 at 7:17 am

    now I’m leery of shipping something to the PNW because it might be soaked with rain during bicycle delivery…

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    • JAT in Seattle November 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

      We’ve probably all* looked out the window of an airliner while sitting on the tarmac to see baggage and mail getting soaked by rain. Even the most CO2 intensive method of shipping is not immune to weather…

      *okay not all of us poison the universe and kill birdies by flying in petroleum burning death machines, but a lot of us do.

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    • francis November 2, 2011 at 10:56 am

      I’m sure they’ve heard of this thing called a plastic cover. Might even get less rain since a bike can go all the way up to the door while stuff on a truck needs to get walked up from the curb.

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  • peoples republic November 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Cool! Go brown santa.

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  • Bill November 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Regular UPS drivers do quite well hourly.
    I guess since I have people left and right that want to work for me, I should offer $8.50 an hour. because I can… I care about people and I feel that what you put in to someone, you quite often get out

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