- Uber will expand beyond its core ride-hailing and food-delivery services with a broader courier service for packages, medication, and pet supplies.
- The ride-hailing giant’s efforts fall under two initiatives, called “Uber Direct” and “Uber Connect.”
- Uber Direct lets users order items from select retailers and have them delivered directly to their door, while Uber Connect lets users in 25 cities in Australia, Mexico send packages to relatives and friends.
- In a blog post on its website, Uber said the goal of Uber Connect and Uber Direct is to provide employment – “to help drivers find essential work today” – as well as to provide supplies.
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With much of the Western world under lockdown thanks to the coronavirus, ride-hailing giant Uber is having to adapt to a world without cabs.
To that end, it has launched a wider courier service that will ferry around packages, medication, and pet supplies, alongside its Uber Eats food delivery service.
The ride-hailing giant’s broader efforts fall under two initiatives, called “Uber Direct” and “Uber Connect.”
Uber Direct lets users order items from select retailers and have them delivered directly to their door. In this way it’s an extension of Uber Eats but focused on non-food supplies. Examples include a partnership with Cabinet in New York to deliver over-the-counter medication; with Greencross for same-day pet supplies in Australia; and with Portugal’s postal service to deliver parcels.
Uber has also been sending medical supplies to South Africans vulnerable to the coronavirus, in conjunction with the Western Cape Department of Health and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Uber Connect, meanwhile, lets people post supplies and care packages to relatives and friends. It’s available in 25 cities in the US, Mexico, and Australia, and is “contactless” to ensure safety.
In a blog post on its website, Uber said the goal of Uber Connect and Uber Direct is to provide employment – “to help drivers find essential work today” – as well as to provide supplies.
It isn’t the first time Uber has explored a wider logistical service. Uber first floated the idea of a general delivery service five years ago and launched the UberRush pilot in 2015. It folded in mid-2018.
Separately, Uber is undergoing a legal battle with its drivers in California. Drivers for both Uber and its rival, Lyft, drivers claim the companies owe them more than $630 million in back wages by misclassifying drivers as contractors under California’s new gig worker law.