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Apparently, bike messengers are getting the short end of the stick as more and more documents are being sent electronically.
Court documents, legal contracts, plane tickets, and many other paper documents that were previously delivered by messengers are now being filed or sent electronically. And that’s hitting bike messengers where it hurts – their paycheck.
No one grows up thinking “Hey, I want to be a bike messenger when I finish school”. Quite the contrary, many messengers are probably working their way through school by putting their bike and love of cycling to good use. Most messenger services only have a fraction of the staff they used to have. There is still money to be made delivering things like x-rays and blue prints, since they are hard to scan or print, as well as physical items that obviously can’t be sent electronically, but the client list is shrinking.
Unfortunately, this is not an industry where it’s easy to increase profits by growing your market, or reducing costs. With the ease of creating a PDF, the list of printed documents grows smaller all the time. And it’s hard to get any more efficiency out of a fixed gear bike – the messenger’s choice.
Unless Chrome bags, canned PBR, and white belts come down in price, there will be tough times ahead for bike messengers.