As most of the country practices social distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic, more people are turning to delivery services to get their daily goods. To make things more convenient during the stressful time, Uber is expanding its delivery services for customers to send and receive supplies. These new Uber Connect and Direct services will make your life easier by delivering retail items straight to your doorstep and allowing you to keep in touch with friends and family.
Uber launched its new pilot delivery services — Uber Direct and Uber Connect — in select cities on Monday, April 20. The majority of U.S. states are under stay-at-home orders, which means people aren't able to get together with friends and family IRL. And with social distancing measures imperative to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, you're not heading out to the store for groceries and other necessities as often as you normally would. To help, the company has launched contact-free delivery to meet the demand of people looking to get necessities delivered quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Here's what you should know about the new services.
You can send a care package or fun gift using Uber Connect to stay in touch with your friends and family while quarantining. All you'll need to do is log into the Uber app, where you'll be prompted to add your pickup and delivery address. After you put in the address, Uber Connect will appear as a new option in the vehicle selection menu. From there, you'll be able to share the recipient address and any special instructions with your driver. Once your driver arrives, you'll need to load up your item in the trunk of the car to send as a same-day, contactless package. The driver won't be able to pick something up from a store for delivery. This is meant more for sharing items like that book and puzzle you think your bestie will like or a homemade photo album filled with memories to send to your sister.
You'll be able to track the progress of the delivery in the app. Once your driver is close to the destination, you'll receive a message in the app asking you to share your trip with the recipient so that they can head out to meet the driver curbside to get their package. It's important to note that although your recipient does not need an Uber account, they must be home to retrieve the item through contactless delivery. You can expect your Uber Connect delivery to cost slightly higher than an UberX trip, since the price is also similarly based on the time and distance applied to your route.
Uber Connect is currently available in the following cities in the United States: Austin, Baltimore-Maryland, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. It's also available in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Paraguay.
Uber Direct takes the recent expansion of Uber Eats into grocery and convenience store delivery to the next level. Now, you can place orders on the Uber app from select retailers and get the items delivered to you without contact. Uber has kicked off a pilot with Cabinet in New York City so shoppers can get over-the-counter medication delivered to their homes as long as supplies last. The company hopes to expand the service to other U.S. cities going forward, but it's currently only in NYC. The company is also using Direct by partnering with South Africa's Western Cape Department of Health and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help deliver medication to people most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
The Uber Connect and Direct services are currently available in the selected cities, but there's no confirmation they'll be permanent additions to the app.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.