Even if you’re not hopping in an Uber to visit friends or family during the holidays, the ride-hailing company is rolling out a way to at least send a package to someone nearby.
Uber announced the launch of Uber Connect on Wednesday in Seattle and more than 2,400 other cities as a way to send everything from quarantine care packages to holiday gifts. The same-day, no-contact delivery solution was originally introduced in April, but the company said it has since designed a new end-to-end experience to make it all more seamless.
In cities where Uber Connect is available, the new service appears in the Uber app with a brown package icon alongside options for rides, food delivery and 2-wheel transportation such as bikes and scooters.
Users input the pickup and drop off location and confirm the request, and an Uber driver will then come to their location, pick up the package and deliver it for them. The experience is meant to be contactless, and customers meet the driver at the curb and then track the delivery in the app like any Uber trip.
Same day, local package delivery is certainly not a new idea – FedEx has a courier service, for instance, and Seattle’s Reliable Couriers will deliver a package in the city within an hour or less, according to its website.
Uber Connect, or UberSanta as CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called it in a tweet, is available in US cities including Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Portland, Salt Lake City and more.
UberSanta 🎅🏽🚘 has arrived! Send your loved one a care package this holiday season with Uber Connect- now available in 2,400 new US locations https://t.co/r8Bv6iblAF
– dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) December 9, 2020
Uber previously announced the launch of another delivery service, called Uber Direct, which built upon Uber Eats’ expansion into grocery and convenience store delivery. The company billed it at the time as another way for shoppers to place orders from select retailers and get items delivered, without contact, to their doorstep.
The New York Times reported that by eliminating the technology projects, “Uber management, under pressure to make the company profitable, is dumping initiatives that critics said were money pits.” Uber can now focus on ride-hailing and the fast-growing delivery sector.