On-demand ride service Uber has already shown that it can get users wherever they need to go with just a tap on their smartphones. Starting tomorrow, it will begin testing out a new courier service in New York City.
The new service, called UberRUSH, will appear on users’ home screens alongside its UberBLACK and UberSUV offerings, and will allow customers to have small goods delivered from one place to another. Once a user requests UberRUSH, a courier will arrive either on bike or on foot to deliver a package elsewhere in Manhattan, generally within an hour.
It’s important to note that UberRUSH is not an on-demand delivery service in the same sense as Postmates or WunWun, in which users place an order and have goods brought to them. Instead, with the new service, couriers will pick up objects from Uber users and deliver them to a specific address designated by the customer.
In that way, UberRUSH is more like a traditional courier service, used for transporting same-day deliveries around the city.
UberRUSH deliveries will have a base fare of $15, and the price will depend on travel within and between various designated “zones” within Manhattan.
The offering will be available from the Financial District all the way up to 110th Street, and the different zones are marked off at Houston Street, 34th Street, 59th Street, and Central Park. For each zone that a courier travels through, the cost will increase an additional $5, for a maximum of $30 per delivery.
According to Uber New York City General Manager Josh Mohrer, the service will be available 24 hours a day beginning tomorrow. But Uber expects the busiest periods to be during general work hours — that is, when businesspeople in the city generally need to expedite documents and other goods within the city.
Over the years, Uber has experimented with various non-ride delivery options, including everything from dropping off mariachi bands to BBQs to kittens. But this is the first time that the company will allow its users to have anything delivered for a fee.
For now, that will be limited to things that couriers can carry themselves, either on foot or on a bike. You can imagine that will include business documents between law, financial, or realty offices, but could also include things like Airbnb users having keys dropped off to a certain location.
Part of the fun for Uber will be figuring out how exactly its customers use the service and what typical use cases end up being. Once it knows that, it could potentially extend the availability of its service to other providers who wish to ride on top of the logistics network it’s already built.