Uber has expanded its services even further after offering 10 million free rides and deliveries amid the coronavirus pandemic earlier this month. The company has now announced the launch of two new initiatives — Uber Direct and Uber Connect — which will offer the delivery of packages, medicine and pet supplies in different locations worldwide.
Uber Direct, which like Uber Connect kicks off in select cities, will allow users to request medical supplies and other critical resources for a same-day, contactless service. In New York, the company has partnered with Cabinet to deliver over-the-counter medication, in Portugal it is working with the national postal service to help with parcels and in Australia, the service offers the delivery of pet supplies via Pet Barn, City Farmers and the Greencross Vets clinics.
Uber Connect seeks to bring together “loved ones or colleagues” despite the distance between everyone during this unprecedented time. Users can now use the app to send personalized care packages to family and friends, “whether it’s a care package, a board game, or an extra roll of much-needed toilet paper.” The service has thus far been rolled out to 25 cities across Australia, Mexico and the U.S.
“Our goal is for Uber Connect and Uber Direct to help drivers find essential work today, while unlocking new opportunities in the future,” the company said in a statement. “Uber Direct and Uber Connect will evolve over time as we learn how to most effectively and sustainably serve the needs of businesses, drivers, delivery people, and consumers.”
The company also took action last month as the virus began to unfold in North America, suspending pool rides in the U.S. and Canada in order to help flatten the curve.