As ridership continues to decline with stay-at-home orders across the country, Uber is launching two new services—Uber Direct and Uber Connect. These projects expand the company’s current delivery service and give drivers opportunities to continue working.
The accelerated delivery efforts go beyond food and grocery items. Now, app users will have access to on-demand and last-mile delivery solutions. These services, offered only in select cities, are geared toward consumers and businesses.
Uber Direct builds on the recent expansion of Uber’s East. Using Uber Direct, shoppers can place orders from select retailers and get their items delivered to their doorstep without any contact with the delivery person. Uber Direct will include a number of grocery stores and convenience stores to choose products from. Specifically in New York City, Uber Direct is working with Cabinet to delivery over-the-counter medication to New Yorkers—for as long as supplies last. Uber has also partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver medication to those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Uber Connect allows users in select cities to send packages to family and friends. Using the Uber app, those wishing to send a package can use the Connect feature to get same-day, no-contact delivery. This option is currently available in more than 25 cities in the United States, Mexico, and Australia. From care packages to toilet paper, Uber Connect offers a cost-effective shipping option for those who cannot or do not want to leave their homes.
With these new services, Uber is continuing to encourage riders to stay home while providing earning opportunities for their drivers. According to a statement from Uber, “Our goal is for Uber Connect and Uber Direct to help drivers find essential work today, while unlocking new opportunities in the future.”
Depending on usage, Uber Direct and Uber Connect will change over time as the company learns how to most effectively serve the needs of consumers, businesses, drivers, and delivery people. If the new services are not profitable once the current lockdown environment has ended, it’s likely they will be removed.
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