Delivery riders in Dubai are experiencing one of their busiest Ramadan periods this year as they juggle food deliveries from restaurants to homes and offices.
The majority of employees have worked from home in the past two years but that has changed as life has returned to normal in the UAE.
Riders in the emirate told The National they are once again navigating office blocks as well as making home deliveries during the holy month.
Adeel Sher, who works for Careem as a delivery rider, said this year has been busier than previous ones as people are busy working and they are ordering food rather than cooking at home.
“There has been an increase in demand for food to be delivered because people have returned to the office,” said Mr Sher, 28, from Pakistan.
“Because of that, we are also seeing an increase in the number of tips we are getting.”
Mr Sher and his colleagues hope people continue to be generous, as his employer Careem has promised to match any tips during Ramadan.
Careem also stops taking orders through its app 15 minutes before and after iftar time to allow riders to break their fast without having to worry about delivering meals to customers, he added.
As Ramadan is in April this year, riders have not been feeling the full brunt of the scorching summer sun while making deliveries.
“It is a little cooler than Ramadan last year which is a huge help,” said Asharaful Kamal, 26, who works for Freedom Pizza.
“Having said that, it is still pretty hot and you definitely still feel it, especially when you are stuck waiting in traffic.”
He also said customers have been considerate of the riders who are fasting and show great patience waiting for their orders to arrive.
“They are very understanding and never put us under pressure,” said Mr Kamal from Bangladesh.
However, not every delivery rider has noticed an increase in tips from customers.
Pakistani rider Muhammad Faizan said the prevalence of customers using credit and debit cards to order online meant riders were less likely to receive tips — even if it is Ramadan.
“Ever since people have been using credit cards to pay for food we get fewer tips,” said the 29-year-old, who also works for Freedom Pizza.
“It used to be the case people would pay with cash and give you the bit of change that was left, but nobody has change any more.”
But big-hearted customers were helping delivery riders in other ways, he said.
“A lot of people leave water bottles out for us to take after we break our fast,” said Mr Faizan.
“People are very generous with water during Ramadan, which is very much appreciated.”
Usama Muhammad, 29, also from Freedom Pizza, said there was great camaraderie among riders who were fasting.
“We often sit around, 13 or 14 of us, and break our fasts together,” said the Pakistani delivery rider.
“We are like a family and it’s nice to be able to share those experiences with each other.”
Also fasting during Ramadan is Pakistani delivery rider Malik Shahzad. who works for Operation Falafel.
The 22-year-old agreed that Ramadan in April offered a slight respite from the heat of previous years.
“The heat is less than during Ramadan last year,” said Mr Shahzad.