60 couriers are set to lose their jobs today after internet giant Amazon decided to scrap Prime Now one-hour deliveries by bike in Seattle, Washington state, the city where it is based.
Instead, goods will be delivered to shoppers exclusively via motor vehicles, although some have expressed scepticism that Amazon is finished with bike couriers altogether.
According to Geekwire, the riders concerned were told by email on Wednesday that they were surplus to requirements - just three days’notice.
All were supplied to Amazon by a variety of firms that employed the couriers, and in the comments to that article, strong suspicions are raised that having built an understanding of how the business operates, Amazon will now look to engage bike couriers directly.
One, who has been working on the Amazon contract for the past nine months, told thestranger.com: "We were all given a very short notice that Friday would be our last day.
"A lot of people, including myself, are thinking, 'Why are we going to stick around and bust our ass and put our lives on our line when they don't give a shit?' They just cut our jobs. A lot of us just walked out."
But she put no blame on the owner of Fleetfoot, the contractor she worked for, insisting: “Gary was the best boss I've ever had.
"He didn't tell us because he was trying to negotiate with Amazon and get them to change their mind... He was a good employer. It was Amazon that was horrible."
The courier added that she had not been given any severance pay, and at $12.50 an hour had already been struggling to make ends meet with her rent having just gone up.
She will now apply for food stamps and unemployment benefit, and added: "A lot of new employees got screwed too. It was not a pretty picture yesterday."
In autumn last year, Geekwire reported on the demands Amazon placed on couriers delivering products ordered through the Prime Now one-hour service.
One rider then said - also anonymously - that Amazon’s requirements in terms of payload, delivery time and execution were “physically impossible” to meet.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.