'Net Runs Messengers Off Road

Pedal pushers have less and less work
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 3:10 PM CST
Bike courier Travis Hugh Culley makes his way through traffic in Philadelphia.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Bike messengers, nearly ubiquitous in many cities in the '90s, are declining in numbers as internet transmission of documents cuts into their business. Seattle has fewer than half the number of active messengers it did 10 years ago, and New York has lost more than 1,000 couriers in the same period. The Seattle-Post Intelligencer looks at a job category speeding toward extinction.

Companies have downsized and passed along the cost of diminishing business to the bike messengers by switching to paying per delivery, not per hour. But low wages and spotty health insurance are beside the point for devoted couriers who remain smitten with the freedom and fresh air: "I'm definitely not doing it for the money" said one 10-year veteran. “I like the job more than all the other jobs I had.”