Mumbai’s famous cycle logistics food delivery services the ‘Dabbawala’ have suspended their operations due to Covid-19 outbreak till March 31st. 

The Mumbai Dabbawala Association decided to shut its delivery operations to prevent spread of corona virus. The Maharashtra state government has directed 50% closure of railway services, bus transport and suggested private companies to instruct their staff to work from home.

As offices, schools and colleges are closed, Dabbawala’s recorded 75% drop in their business. The deliveries rely on local trains and bicycles and cater to the working population in the financial capital of India. “To mitigate contact with people in mass transits and keeping in line with state governments instructions, the association has decided to suspend the services till 31st March” said Ulas Shantaram Muke, President Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust in a telephonic interview.


In Maharashtra, nearly 49 people have found positive with one succumbing to Covid virus. To avert further spread of infections, the state government has advised people to remain indoors and step-out only to meet urgent needs. The suspension of Dabbawala tiffin service is in adherence to the order and likely to resume from 1st April.

Mumbai Dabbawala tiffin services have a long history of 130 years old and known to have achieved six sigma certification for their accuracy in the supply chain. They are part of academic interest and recognised by many business institutes and universities for their efficiency in handling a complex system of alpha-numeric color coding and maintaining near accurate deliveries.


Everyday, around 5000 Dabbawala’s deliver over 2 lakh lunch boxes to the working population in Mumbai using pedal power and local train services. They are known to be resilient and function in harsh weather conditions of rains and summer heat.

The men are seen wearing white kurta, Gandhi cap, make tireless efforts pedaling on their black roadsters around the year and observe 10 day break for their annual pilgrimage usually in April which comes a little early this year. Famous for reliability, the services can be subscribed digitally through their website mumbaidabbawala.in

App based food delivery companies such as Zomato and Swiggy have initiated contact less deliveries to minimize the spread of virus as communicated on their official twitter handles.


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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai

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