|Pandemic pushes Uber, Lyft to look beyond regular riders|
Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft expanded their mobility services in the U.S. this week as demand for ride-hailing services has neared a screeching halt for several weeks across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lyft said Wednesday that it is launching Essential Deliveries, a pilot program in which government agencies, local nonprofits, businesses and health care organizations can request meals, groceries, medical and cleaning supplies and other necessities for delivery by Lyft drivers.
Lyft is already partnering with organizations such as Dole Packaged Foods, for delivery of food to senior care facilities, and Army of Angels, for delivery of school lunches to low-income communities, through Essential Deliveries.
Essential Deliveries initially will be offered in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio and Seattle, according to Lyft, but the company said it expects to expand to more drivers and more cities.
According to Lyft, drivers and organizations that participate in these deliveries are made aware that they are "contact-free."
Drivers are signing on to Essential Deliveries to earn cash as demand decreases for standard rides, but they will be paid at a similar rate, the company said. Lyft began formulating the effort in March.
Uber said in a blog Tuesday that it now accepts phone orders for food-delivery service Uber Eats.
So far, the phone service is available only in the Miami area and New York City, but Uber expects to offer it in more locations.
Uber Eats previously accommodated orders only through its website or a mobile app.
-- Alexa St. John