Where are the couriers?

Acrobat PDF advertAre email and PDF putting couriers out of business?

When I first worked in the city in the early-90s, there were heaps of bike couriers around the place. You’d see them speeding around the streets, grabbing hold of trams and trucks to go up hills, zooming through lights, dodging pedestrians and cars alike.

Back then the technology for moving documents around electronically was somewhat lacking in reliability, and I vaguely remember hearing that people at one workplace had been told that if something was urgent, you didn’t email it, you’d fax it. And if it was really critical, you should send it by courier.

There don’t seem to be so many bike couriers around nowadays, nor do so many people send faxes. I suspect we only resort to these for documents when someone’s genuine analogue signature (or a crude digital representation of it) is required on the dotted line — otherwise email will suffice.

Strangely enough, the post office are apparently doing okay in this new world of electronic delivery. Australia Post reports parcels are up, citing eBay as one of the main causes. And probably helped by diversifying into all those things that make the queues so long when you just want to buy a stamp.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Where are the couriers?”

you have to break thru’ the language barrier first.
Simply asking for “postage stamps” will elicit blank looks or a “no”.
Describe to them what it is, vis, “to stick on an envelope and mail it in a post box” and you’ll get a nod and a smile.
The 7-11 near top of Bourke St on LHS as you come from Parliment station always has them.
Good luck!!!

While they were dangerous, I used to admire the bike courier’s riding skills. I remember one who was knocked by a car in Toorak Road, screaming out, ‘I hate this ****ing road’, to no-one in particular.

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