Uber Connect saw 3X demand in May, driven by grocery and drug deliveries

Photo: Reuters
Demand for Uber Connect, the ride hailing app's courier service, tripled in the month of May 2021, with many people using the service to transport essentials like grocery, non-prescription medication, medical devices, and care packages to family and loved ones.

"Uber Connect, which was used for point to point package delivery between friends and families and  last mile delivery, as you look at the pandemic wave two, we saw Uber Connect as a service that continues to scale in a significant manner. For example, in the month of May, the demand for Uber Connect service grew 3x...mobility use cases were suppressed, but we were able to create those opportunities for drivers to be able to transport goods from point to point, which was additional livelihood opportunity for them," said Prabhjeet Singh, President, Uber India South Asia.

The two-wheeler delivery service, which was launched in May last year during the nationwide lockdown, is now available across 26 cities including, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata Delhi NCR Jaipur, Chennai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, and Chandigarh among others.

The trend is in line with the growing need and importance of hyper local deliveries of everything- from food to medicine, clothes to documents- that have been a life saver for families and friends separated by the pandemic and related lockdowns. At the peak of the second wave earlier in April, sending food to many Covid affected families was also made possible through these services.

A recent report from consulting firm RedSeer and Shadowfax found that there is high importance of express delivery among consumers with higher willingness to pay for these services, especially for online pharma deliveries.

Additionally, Uber said Thursday that more than 37,000 drivers on its platform have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot as part of the company’s Rs 18.5 crore initiative to help India get moving again.

Uber introduced a simple and fast way for car, auto, and moto drivers to upload government-issued vaccination certificates within the Uber app. It uses a mix of technology and human verification to confirm the authenticity of the uploaded certificates before giving drivers Rs 400 for each of the two shots to compensate them for time spent getting vaccinated.

Over the past few weeks, Uber has continued to invest in driver education using in-app messages, educational videos and virtual meetings with medical experts to remove vaccine hesitancy, bust common myths and spread awareness on vaccination benefits.

“Mass vaccination is the best defense in India’s fight against COVID. We’re committed to the communities we serve and want to help riders and drivers get both jabs as soon as possible. We’re delighted with the response we have received from drivers and will continue to support them during these challenging times. These efforts enhance safety on the Uber platform and help India get moving again,” said Singh.

Apart from the Rs 18.5 crore package for providing cash incentives to vaccinated drivers, Uber announced in May, an updated financial support program for drivers diagnosed with Covid-19 through which they will be able to claim 14 days in partial earnings support. In the unfortunate event of a driver succumbing to Covid-19, Uber will provide a one-time support package worth Rs 75,000 to help meet the immediate needs of surviving family members.

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