The service, called Uber Rush, is available as a part of the Uber app for a limited testing period. The company will hire a separate group of bicycle and pedestrian messengers to deliver packages between Manhattan’s southern tip and 110th Street. The prices will range between $15 and $30, depending on how far the messenger has to go.
Uber has not specified the number of messengers it has employed, saying that the delivery force is “enough to make it reliable.” The company believes that it can use smartphone technology to bring reliability and customer service to the courier industry, something which they feel is lacking currently.
Uber says it is not applying surge pricing to deliveries at the moment. As with its car service, Uber takes a 20 percent commission.
The company has flirted with the idea of starting a delivery service saying that it was a natural extension of its ride-sharing business. The company delivered Christmas trees last year, but that was more of a publicity stunt.
“We’re in the business, today, of delivering cars in five minutes. But once you’re delivering cars in five minutes, there’s a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes,” Kalanick said at the LeWeb conference in December. “If someone is doing ‘Uber for X’, whatever it is, and it matches that lifestyle and logistics thing, you can count on Uber doing it.”
Uber teased the announcement in a tweet over the weekend:
We're rolling out some big news on Tuesday... pic.twitter.com/1pDPy8oV2p— Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) April 5, 2014