Uber, the app-based on-demand car service, has launched a courier service in Manhattan as a test piece that could eventually expand throughout the New York area and into other cities.
The new service, called RUSH, is an experiment rolled out from the "Uber Garage," a workshop where the startup tests new ideas. Uber has experimented with the delivery of things (Christmas trees
and ice cream trucks
) in the past. Most of those efforts came off as schemes to generate press. This time, the pilot seems like a credible attempt to for them to transform from an on-demand car service to an urban logistics business.
For now, the courier service is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays in all of Manhattan below 110th. Uber says it's working to expand coverage quickly.
Unlike its traditional service, which connects drivers and would-be passengers, UberRUSH messengers will be picking up and dropping off packages on bike or on foot. No cars here.
Users can choose RUSH in the Uber app and make a request by placing a pin at the pickup address. In theory, a messenger should arrive in minutes to pick up the item and delivery instructions. Once the courier leaves, the user can track their progress in the Uber app.