In New York City, business people have the constant pressure of moving quickly. But that doesn’t only mean walking fast, memorizing subway routes, or aggressively hailing taxis. It also means sending packages quickly. In order to make that easier for busy individuals, Uber is offering a new mobile app, called RUSH, in Manhattan.
Uber has been an on-demand ride service and even experimented with deliveries in the past, particularly with roses on Valentine’s Day and ice cream on hot summer days. Manhattan is the best place to test the service because it is small but dense and allows people to get around quickly even without cars.
For now, Uber, which charges a 20% commission to messengers who use it, will not say exactly how many messengers are on board besides suggesting that the number is sufficient to make it a reliable service. But the company is looking to improve courier services which have fallen behind the times.
”No one was getting it quite right on the messenger service piece, and we were seeing people use Uber cars to move things,” says Uber’s general manager in NY Josh Mohrer.
While some might think that using a program like Uber means adding a middle-man to the equation, that is not necessarily the case. The fact that bike delivery services have become more and more popular in a number of cities actually subverts that notion and suggests that RUSH could carve out a valuable niche.
RUSH messengers will arrive in just minutes after they are hailed, on bike or on foot, and take specific instructions. Users can track the status of their package and follow its location with the app. One thing that they won’t be able to do, however, is have messengers complete transactions. They won’t return packages to stores or purchase items and deliver them.
One concern that Uber has worked hard to alleviate is security since, in Manhattan, it could be quite easy for a messenger to grab a package and never be seen or heard from again. The company puts messengers through rigorous background checks before they’re allowed to deliver.
In fast-paced Manhattan, courier services can play a valuable role. With the new RUSH app, Uber may be able to make messengers more useful and give them a larger role in the business landscape.