Business

Uber is launching an on-demand courier service tomorrow (exclusive)

Promotional photograph from Uber

Above: Promotional photograph from Uber

Image Credit: Uber

Updated at 3:45 p.m. Pacific to add confirmation of the service.

Tomorrow, Uber will launch an on-demand courier service in Manhattan, allowing users to request item pickup and delivery via a smartphone app.

According to a job listing obtained by VentureBeat, Uber plans to pay bike couriers between $20 and $30 per hour for “on-demand deliveries.” Uber plans to give couriers a free iPhone 4S, allowing them to “receive pickup requests from nearby customers.”

Uber has released an official statement confirming the news. The service will be called UberRUSH.

Earlier, VentureBeat was in contact with Uber regarding this report, but the company had not confirmed or denied it.

While Uber is planning to announce the news tomorrow, the company hasn’t kept too quiet about its plans. Uber has listed delivery jobs on Craigslist and even shared hints at the new service on Twitter [below].

Uber requires that couriers be over the age of 21 and able to travel by bike, and/or an unlimited Metro card. Couriers must also complete a background check and stop by Uber’s New York office for an “onboarding session.”

This new initiative compliments past Uber experiments, like when the company offered Christmas tree delivery in New York.

uber-deliveryUber’s delivery service arrives at a unique time for New York. The city is saturated with on-demand delivery services.

Perhaps most interesting, Gett — a car service which competes with Uber — today announced a somewhat similar initiative in partnership with WunWun, a New York-based delivery startup.

While the two services differ in many ways, the timing is curious.

Uber’s upcoming service only allows for pickup and delivery of items — no purchases will be made by couriers. This means the service falls more in line with traditional bike couriers.

WunWun, however, aims to operate more like a personal assistant than a delivery utility.

They may be different, but they’re still competitors.

Uber’s new service may compete with WunWun, Postmates, eBay Now, and others, as it allows users to purchase items ahead of time and schedule pickup and delivery via its app.

Uber has shown aggression against Gett in the past. Uber employees reportedly posed as pedestrians on the service to overload Gett with false requests and to recruit its drivers. To see the two companies go head-to-head like this is certainly entertaining.


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