In context: Not all that long ago, Uber was viewed by many as a side hustle to generate some extra income. With many having since lost their main jobs due to lockdown orders, putting idle drivers to work is now more important than ever. For Uber, that means revisiting a business it abandoned a couple of years back.

Some of the businesses hit hardest by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak are those that deal directly with people. As this whole thing drags on, it is becoming increasingly clear that for some of these companies to survive, a rethink is in order.

Uber is one such example. As lockdown and remote work orders continue to keep people at home, the ride-hailing specialist has no doubt seen business plummet in recent weeks. But rather than sit around and accept the hand they’ve been dealt, the company is accelerating efforts to adapt by broadening its delivery efforts beyond food and grocery items through the launch of two new projects.

Uber Direct builds on the recent Uber Eats expansion, catering to select retailers and manufacturers looking for a way to get their goods to customers and suppliers. In New York City, Uber has launched a pilot with Cabinet to deliver over-the-counter medication to customers. In Portugal, the ride-hailing service is teaming up with the national postal service to deliver parcels to customers and in Australia, pet supplies are now being delivered with same-day service.

The other new service, Uber Connect, will let people in select cities send packages cross-town without having to leave their home. Uber described it as a cost effective same-day, no-contact delivery solution to help people feel close even when they are apart.

“Whether it’s a care package, a board game, or an extra roll of much-needed toilet paper, you can send it by requesting “Uber Connect” in the Uber app,” the company notes.

Masthead credit: ESB Professional