Uber, the on-demand ride service valued at $US3 billion, has been experimenting with on-demand deliveries. For Valentine’s Day, the startup delivered on-demand roses. On hot summer days, it brings on-demand ice cream to users.
Now Uber is launching a package-delivery service called RUSH in New York City. It appears to be a long-term extension of its offering, not a one-day experiment. RUSH uses bike and on-foot messengers to get your belongings from point A to point B.
Other Uber competitors are already working on courier services. Gett, a service that’s a lot like Uber, recently teamed up with delivery startup WunWun to deliver packages as well as rides to its users.
Uber has a blog post explaining how the service works. It’s similar to its car-hailing service in that you open up the app and pinpoint your location. RUSH is now the option on the far right, alongside its Uber Taxi, UberX, and black and SUV car offerings.
Here’s how RUSH works:
- How To Hail: Request a messenger at your location. The delivery person will arrive to collect your delivery instructions either on bike or on foot, then whisk your package away to its destination. Both the sender and the recipient can track the location of the package on Uber’s app.
- The Catch: Uber’s messengers won’t conduct transactions on your behalf. So if you want an item purchased at a store and delivered to you — or if you need a package returned to a store and signed for you — Uber’s service won’t work. But if you borrow a friend’s sweater and don’t want to trek uptown to return it, hail an Uber bike. Also, large packages will be a struggle for Uber’s messengers.
- Pricing: RUSH pricing is different from Uber’s car pricing, and it’s based on zones. If a package is delivered within the same zone of Manhattan (Upper West, Upper East, Midtown, Downtown, or Lower Manhattan), then your delivery will cost a flat $US15. If the package needs to go through another zone, it’s $US15 plus $US5 for each additional zone the biker travels through.
Here’s a map of the Uber RUSH zones:
Uber says its new service will work best for Manhattanites between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Current wait times for a RUSH are about five minutes. Uber says its messengers go through a rigorous background check before they’re allowed to deliver packages.
For more information on the service, head over to Uber’s blog.