When Uber came along, it is probably fair to say that it really put the cat among the pigeons.
Uber essentially cut out the middle man in terms of connecting drivers with passengers and has certainly given the established taxi industry an almighty headache.
Now it seems the courier industry is next on the list for a spot of regime change. Although touted as the “Uber for cycle couriers” it is worth pointing out at this stage that Street Stream has nothing to do with the somewhat controversial cab firm. Street Stream is a trading name of Jasmine Technologies Ltd. You may have heard of Kerbi, the inner tube rescue service –this is the same company.
After the spectacular failure of Initial City Link last Christmas and the generally turbulent nature of the firms that are left, perhaps Street Stream’s arrival is fortuitously timed. It appears to offer bike, cargo bike and van drivers the opportunity to be their own boss; to manage their working day via their phone and to perhaps forge a new career as a courier…
Head to the iOS app store and download the Street Stream for Couriers app. Go through the registration process and provide the various forms of ID that they ask for; sign up to their terms & conditions and wait for the vetting process to be completed (about two weeks).
Once onboard, jobs in your area will be pinged to your phone, giving you the opportunity to quote for that job. If accepted, you pick up the package and deliver it. Money is then deposited into your account within 48 hours (although 7 days for the 1st job) via Stripe.
While in transit, you are covered by Goods In Transit insurance, but it is advisable to have public liability insurance arranged should you have an accident whilst out on business.
You pick your hours, you decide on the jobs that you take and you, to a certain extent, set your price. Depending on the size of the package, Street Stream will decide what type of courier to notify of a job –large items will go on a cargo bike or van, but small items can go by bike or on foot.
Once you’ve signed up, you can get an estimate from the Street Stream website by entering the pickup and drop-off postcodes. You can then go ahead and book the job.
If the courier you hire does a good job, you can give them positive feedback –likewise if they are rude and unhelpful you can mark them down. This will hopefully allow the good ones to rise to the top, but if eBay sellers are anything to go by, this isn’t always the case!
Why are you telling me all this?!
If you have a bicycle and you need a job, Street Stream may be right up your alley. Whether you are an existing cycle courier or just someone trying to get into this line of work, this seems like a great opportunity to start taking some control over your working life.
However, there are caveats. There is a possibility that this may become a very popular service. You may have to compete with dozens of other cyclists for jobs and there may not be enough work to go around. However, if you take your work seriously; are polite and courteous; know your way around and are as fit as a butcher’s dog, you should be able to rise up above the others and have more of your quotes accepted.
The laws of supply & demand will obviously apply to Street Stream –if there are too many couriers and not enough customers, or there are too many customers and not enough couriers, it will fail.
It’s at this point we cross our fingers. It could lead to a lot more people on bikes in Cardiff and we would consider that a very good thing.