Financial Crisis

Drop in Legal Business Hits Bicycle Couriers in DC and NY


The advent of electronic court filing and the legal recession has taken a toll on the bicycle courier business in Washington, D.C., and New York.

The number of full-time bicycle couriers in Washington, D.C. has dropped from about 400 in the 1990s to about 150, and those still in the business are earning less, the Washington Post reports. In New York, the number of courier companies has dropped from about 500 to almost 40.

Gone are the days when the race to the courthouse involved “exhausted lawyers [who] handed off the document to a character in the tight Lycra of a superhero, the shoulder bag of a Pony Express rider and the bulging thighs of an athlete,” the story says.

Couriers are suffering not only from a drop in legal business, but also from security restrictions that have barred them from government office corridors and the adoption of electronic documents by government agencies.

Those who are still working typically make $400 to 500 a week, the story says.

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