About 40 bike messengers employed by an Amazon.com contractor have been laid off as the tech and retail giant appears to be rethinking the way it makes quick deliveries in Seattle, switching from bikes to cars only.

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About 40 bike messengers employed by an Amazon.com contractor have been laid off as the tech and retail giant appears to be rethinking the way it makes quick deliveries in Seattle, switching from bikes to cars only.

The messengers, who worked for Fleetfoot Messenger Service, carried packages and groceries for Amazon Prime Now, a popular one- to two-hour delivery service seen as one of Amazon’s big bets to beat brick-and-mortar retailing.

They operated out of a warehouse in downtown Seattle, near Amazon’s campus. Fleetfoot owner Gary Brose announced the layoffs Wednesday afternoon in an email with the subject line “PLEASE READ.”

Brose’s email, viewed by The Seattle Times, acknowledges that there is “no easy way to break this news so I’m just going to tell you. Amazon has made the decision to only use cars for deliveries.”

The email said Amazon’s decision came out of a desire to make Seattle quick deliveries operate in a way similar to other cities to have “a more uniform process.” The last day of bike-messenger operations will be Saturday, the email said.

In an interview, Brose said that when his company started working for Amazon in June 2015, there was already an indication that the bike-messenger gig would be temporary and that “there was no guarantee it was going to go on.”

Brose emphasized he is not trying to speak for Amazon when explaining the reasons for the contract’s end, but that it was his understanding that “they like to standardize.”

Amazon declined to comment.

One of the laid-off messengers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was no severance.

The employee said the Prime Now bike messengers generally operated around downtown, South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne, but sometimes went farther on the increasingly frequent occasions when car-driving deliverers were down to a crawl in Seattle’s asphyxiating traffic.

“This is going to make it a hell of a lot worse for the one-hour delivery because we had to rescue a lot of the car drivers when they were stuck,” the employee said.

In his email, Brose wrote that Fleetfoot’s leadership held out hope “that a week or two without our services will cause them to reconsider and ask us back.”