Uber moves to transporting packages as well as people as ride-sharing demand plummets

As COVID-19 continues to affect travel all around the world, Uber Technologies Inc. is moving its focus to the delivery of packages rather than people with the launch of Uber Direct and Uber Connect.

A spokesperson for the company, said: "We’ve heard from people around the world who are looking for new ways to get necessities delivered to their door quickly, and businesses that are exploring how to better serve their customers from afar.

"That’s why we’ve accelerated our delivery efforts beyond food and grocery, to provide on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solutions for consumers and businesses alike."

The firm has announced the launch of two new projects—Uber Direct and Uber Connect—in select cities around the world and say they will continue to leverage their technology to quickly adapt and meet the changing needs of their business partners and customers, wherever they are.

The first of their new services is Uber Direct which builds upon Uber Eats’ recent expansion into grocery and convenience store delivery.

The company say they have listened to retailers and manufacturers around the world looking to introduce delivery through Uber, as an operational way to reach their customers or manage internal delivery needs.

Shoppers can now place orders from select retailers and get their items delivered to their doorstep.

In New York City, Uber have kicked off a pilot with Cabinet, for as long as supplies last, to connect New Yorkers with over-the-counter medication.

In Portugal, Uber are working alongside the national postal service CTT to deliver parcels to their customers.

And in Australia, they are coordinating with Greencross to deliver pet supplies from Pet Barn, City Farmers and the Greencross Vets clinics with same-day service.

In addition, Uber have partnered with South Africa’s Western Cape Department of Health and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver medication to those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the company, said: "In just two weeks, over 25,000 people in South Africa have received their medication without leaving home."

Uber Connect is the second of the firm's latest services, which focuses on the delivery of packages being sent between family and friends via the Uber app.

The firm says: "It’s a cost effective same-day, no-contact delivery solution that keeps people feeling close, even when we’re apart.

"Whether it’s a care package, a board game, or an extra roll of much-needed toilet paper, you can send it by requesting “Uber Connect” in the Uber app."

This option is now available in more than 25 cities in Australia, Mexico, and the US.

Uber say their goal is for Uber Connect and Uber Direct to help drivers find essential work, while unlocking new opportunities in the future.

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