Here’s How Uber, Lyft and Cab Drivers Are Staying in Business​

Published on April 26, 2020

Uber, Lyft, and Cab drivers now deliver groceries and essentials to keep up with the demanding changes as transportation companies suffer due to COVID-19.

Uber Direct and Uber Connect is Focusing “on moving what matters”

With social distancing limiting physical contact, the new Uber Connect feature is allowing family and friends to stay connected and send each other packages. 

It’s being done in a “cost effective same-day, no-contact delivery solution that keeps people feeling close, even when we’re apart,” according an Uber press release. 

And Uber Direct delivers anything from retail items straight to consumers, making it an extension as the company introduced grocery delivery to Uber eats. 

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an email statement, “Our primary focus is the immediate: quickly adapting our technology to meet the evolving needs of communities and companies. While things are moving at a rapid pace, we are leaning in to delivery at Uber speed, and keeping our eyes on the future.”

Lyft Launches Grocery and Meal Delivery Service

But fierce competitor, Lyft, is also jumping into the food and grocery delivery space, with its new on-demand delivery service to provide essential goods, groceries, meals, and medical supplies to people in need during the coronavirus crisis. 

The rideshare company said drivers could be booked to deliver goods on behalf of government agencies, nonprofit groups, businesses and healthcare organizations.

And according to Reuters, over 120,000 drivers across the United States signed up when Lyft made announced the new service on March 20.

Lyft said the program is being released in Atlanta, Austin, Texas; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix; San Francisco; San Diego; San Antonio and Seattle; but there is a chance the service can expand if more companies jump on board.  

New York City Can Drivers Deliver Food

And as thousands of New York City (NYC) cab driver struggle, a new program is filling the void by filling up empty cabs with food for families in need. 

The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) launched a food delivery program, hiring anyone with a valid taxi license to deliver free meals.

According to the website, “the City has created the GetFoodNYC Food Delivery Program to provide food for coronavirus (COVID-19)-vulnerable and food-insecure New Yorkers not currently served through existing food delivery programs.”

A TLC infographic explaining how people can help their neighbors and get paid..

Drivers are paid up to $15 an hour and receive a reimbursement for their mileage and tolls. 

San Francisco Put a 15 Percent Cap On Restaurant Delivery Fees

With more platforms delivering food and groceries businesses need a break from the third-party fees.

San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, put a 15 percent cap on restaurant fees. The mayor added that although customers are being helped the establishments are not.

“While some delivery services have waived fees on the customer side, delivery services continue to charge restaurants a commission. These fees typically range from 10% to 30% and can represent a significant portion of a restaurant’s revenue, especially at a time when the vast majority of sales are for delivery. This commission fee can wipe out a restaurant’s entire margin,” according to an announcement from Mayor Breed.

But Grubhub went on to say this is going to cripple delivery orders and the 15 percent cap will increase fees.

“This will increase your fees by $5-$10 per order and immediately cripple delivery orders, outweighing nay potential benefits when takeout is the only option restaurants have to stay open,” said an email from the company.

Business models are shifting. Roles are changing. And companies need to adapt to survive if they hope to be around in a post coroanvirus life.

Kevin Pichinte is a staff writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is a news associate at ABC7 and was formerly a digital news intern at NBC7 and TLM20. At Grit Daily, he covers entertainment and culture news.

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