Mumbai Dabbawallas are world famous for their uninterrupted services , which even was certified by Prince Charles in 2003 during his visit to Mumbai and personal meeting with them .
How do Mumbai Dabbawalla function ?
• Mumbai Dabbawalla collect the Tiffin/Lunch boxes from the customers' homes in the morning and take them to the nearest railway station. From there each and every box will be coded according to the station /origin, collection, delivery point and the destination are sorted out and then taken to the next stations. There they are sorted out again for area-wise distribution and delivery.
• Like this each lunch box would change hands three to four times till it is delivered to the respective customers. Surprisingly, the lunch boxes get delivered without a single mistake since they are well coded.
Charges of Mumbai Dabbawalla
Inflation has also affected Mumbai's Dabbawallas, who carry and deliver the Lunch boxes all over the city.
As a result of high inflation, their service charge has been increased by Rs.50/- per customer from July 2010.
The Dabbawalas have an association named Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers' Charitable Trust (NMTBSCT). The President of this Trust is Mr. Raghunath Medge.
Mr. Medge has appealed to all the customers of Dabbawalas to bear with their predicament forcing them to hike the service charges in view of the current rise in inflation.
Service charge was increased last time by Rs.30/- in 2008.
Currently the service is available to over 1.7 lacs Mumbaites at Rs.350 - 500/- per month per customer depending on the distance from origin point to delivery point.
It may not be out of place here to narrate my personal experience on the topic.
Where to find Dabbawalla in Mumbai
As my work place was in the heart of the city, the distance between my residence to work place was more than 60 km. Mostly, housewives prepare the lunch packs for their husbands and keep it ready in advance to hand over the same to the Dabbawalas. The Dabbawallas are the busiest professionals in the city. They will not wait even for a couple of minutes. By virtue of being a female, I never could find time to pack my lunch box on time. .
So, I had chosen a caterer in Matunga in Mumbai City itself and necessary arrangements were made by the caterer itself to deliver the Dabba to my office at Naiman Point, Mumbai.
You know what, in our office, Dabbawallas were not allowed to come inside our cabins; what they used to do was, just drop the Dabba just outside the lift on the respective floors at a particular time. The system was such that we have to pick it up ourselves, and after finishing our lunch, put it back in the same place at the prescribed time by them.
Many a days I missed my lunch because I could not collect it on time, and the Dabbawala carried it back in tact. They are not to be blamed because it is not their duty to check whether it is full or empty before collection.