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It’s no secret that businesses adjust to the times. In an increasingly connected world, delivery services that are designed to boost convenience have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. From grocery delivery to getting your favorite local restaurant meals delivered to your door, delivery services have been booming. Nowadays, you can get just about everything delivered to your home.
Even the coronavirus epidemic didn’t change that. While most businesses had to lay off employees, delivery services saw an increased demand for goods and hired hundreds of thousands of people.
As demand for services changes, companies adapt by developing new business opportunities to keep customers engaged. While ridesharing drivers initially saw a significant drop in revenue because people were staying at home, ridesharing companies started making changes to their offerings to adjust to the new business environment.
Uber has released two new services to help people stay connected and get goods to the right place. With Uber Direct and Uber Connect, drivers have new earning opportunities, and customers can get medications they need and send items to friends and colleagues. Here’s a breakdown of the new Uber Connect service including what it is, what it costs, and how you can use it.
What Is Uber Connect?
As the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) hit the world, companies began shifting their products and services to meet a changing landscape. In times of lockdown, stay-at-home orders, and movement limited to essential work and errands, Uber found ways to use their service to bring people together and to make sending products easier. In April 2020, Uber released two new programs: Uber Direct and Uber Connect.
Uber Direct was designed to support Uber Eats, increasing the availability of delivery from grocery stores and convenience shops. The company partnered with Cabinet in New York City, making it easier for residents stuck at home to get over-the-counter medications and other essentials. In Portugal, Uber partnered with the postal service (CTT courier service) to deliver all types of packages. In Australia, they worked with Green Cross to ship pet supplies, and in South Africa, the company began a medication delivery partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In times where people are staying at home and using ridesharing services less, Uber Connect aims to boost earning potential for rideshare drivers while making it easier for customers to send products to friends and family. With Uber Connect, you don’t have to deal with printing out shipping labels, paying for postage, and waiting days on end for items to reach their destination. You don’t have to make a trip to the post office or abide by stringent weight and size regulations.
By using Uber Connect, you can simply box or bag your item however you wish, use the app to call a delivery driver, and watch as your things get delivered locally in minutes, not days. It’s a faster, hassle-free way to send items to addresses in your local area without the delays and extra work that come with using the post office.
While Uber Direct is designed to help you get medications without leaving your home, Uber Connect is all about helping you stay connected with loved ones. The Uber Connect program allows you to send care packages and other items to friends and family in your area. Items are delivered the same day, without contact, making it a great way to send Mother’s Day presents, birthday gifts, or an extra roll of that coveted toilet paper.
The service is available in select cities throughout the United States, Australia, and Mexico. Here’s a full list of the cities where Uber Connect is offering services to connect you with the people you love:
- United States: Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.
- Australia: Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Geelong, Hobart, Townsville, and Adelaide.
- Mexico: Mexico City, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Merida, Tijuana, Torreon, Queretaro, Puerto Vallarta, Gomez Palacio, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Monterrey, Leon, Los Cabos, San Luis Potosi, and Puebla.
As demand increases, the program will be expanded to new regions. Discussions are already underway to expand the Uber Connect program to countries including Costa Rica and Paraguay. If the service is offered in your region, you’ll see the offering in your Uber app.
Benefits of Joining Uber Connect
The main benefit of using Uber Connect is being able to send things to friends and family. The difference between this option and the postal service or UPS is that it’s much faster. Items are all delivered on the same day — often just minutes after you order. The shipping time takes only as long as it takes the driver to go from your home to the item’s destination. No other stops to drop off or pick up packages and no delays because someone lost the package in transit. Whether you’re dying to get a handmade card to your mom and dad or send a fun toy to your niece and nephew, Uber Connect helps you get the job done.
Are you into puzzling, but can’t find puzzles anywhere? Start a puzzle exchange group and swap the ones you’ve already finished by sending them to friends using Uber Connect. From book exchanges to cheering friends up with packages and making sure you never miss a birthday, Uber Connect makes it easy for you to send goods the same day.
Businesses can use Uber Connect to get important documents to employees who are working from home without waiting on the postal service. Businesses can also use Uber Connect to send tools and office supplies to employees so they don’t have to go into the office or store to stock up.
How Uber Connect Works
You don’t need to download a new app to use Uber Connect. Just open up your Uber app or the Uber Eats app and enter your destination information. If you don’t have the Uber app yet, you can download it from the Google or Apple app stores. Once you get to the section showing ridesharing options including UberX and Uber Comfort, look for the Uber Connect feature.
Before you hit confirm, package the item in a box or bag. Wipe the items and the outside of the package with sanitizer wipes or use a disinfectant. Select the relevant location and destination information in the app. In the list of Uber options, look for Connect and the image of a package. You may need to swipe up to see the Connect option in your area.
Next to the Connect option, you’ll see the price prominently displayed so you know exactly what it will cost to send your items. The app also gives an estimated drop-off time. Once you choose Uber Connect, the app will use your credit card or payment on file to process the request. Once confirmed, you’ll get instructions in the app on when to expect your driver and how to prepare the package for pickup.
When the driver arrives, go outside and put the package into the trunk or backseat of the car. The app allows you to add a total of five people to the trip status notification list. You can include the recipient of the item (unless it’s a surprise!) so everyone involved can keep tabs on the trip. The Uber driver will deliver the package to the front door of your destination address.
Costs of Uber Connect
As is usually the case when using rideshare and delivery services including Uber and Lyft, Uber Connect prices depend on the trip details. The farther your package has to travel, the higher the cost will be. The Uber Connect option charges a base fare of $1.44 along with a booking fee of $3.45. The minimum fare is $8.28 regardless of distance traveled and most trips are charged at $0.34 per minute and $1.07 per mile. Additional fees including surcharges, tolls, and long pickup charges can increase the cost of the trip.
Stay Connected With Uber’s New Package Services
Uber Connect helps you send goods and packages to friends, family, and colleagues in your local area. Initially available in 25 cities, Uber is looking at expanding the program to more areas across the world. The program offers convenience for customers and gives Uber drivers new ways to make money as times change.
Using Uber Connect is as easy as ordering an Uber ride. Just use the Uber app to order a driver, package the item, bring it out to the car, and track its progress as it makes its way to the final destination. No more worrying about lost packages from Amazon or the postal service since you can follow the package’s journey every step of the way.
Best of all, this Uber service enables same-day delivery. You can send over a last-minute gift for someone’s birthday or you can get important documents to your coworker in minutes, not days. Whether you need to send work items or are looking for a way to cheer up friends and family, Uber Connect is a great way to stay connected.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.