Reeling under the Covid pandemic, cab-hailing company Uber is exploring alternative revenue channels to get through the current crisis. The company its blog post on Tuesday announced launching package delivery service – Uber Connect – to “send and receive packages” in four cities as of now – Gurugram, Guwahati, Jaipur, and Kolkata. Currently, startups such as Swiggy (under its Swiggy Genie feature) and Dunzo offer hyperlocal delivery of services. Uber has been looking at multiple means to not just generate whatever revenue it could under the lockdown but also to enable earnings for drivers, which have been sitting idle, in order to retain them on the platform.
Users will be able to send packages that are “transportable on a two-wheeler vehicle, be under 5 kilograms in weight, securely sealed and not include prohibited items such as alcohol, recreational drugs, or dangerous and illegal items,” the company said. Uber had last month tied up with Flipkart, BigBasket and Spencer’s Retail to deliver essential goods and groceries; and Medlife to deliver medicines in select cities.
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Online cab services such as Uber and Ola are likely to face demand slowdown once the government relaxes guidelines for such services to operate in permissible zones. “Shared mobility services like cabs may get pushed out for six-nine months post-Covid as consumers will be hesitant to book rides. The number of trips may get curtailed,” Yugal Joshi, Vice President at Texas-based consultancy Everest Group had told Financial Express Online.
Following the lockdown and Covid crisis, wherein customers might be wary of opting for shared cab services due to hygiene concern, car sales are likely to pick up. “At least 40 per cent of purchase intenders said they are more likely to buy a new or a used car, after the coronavirus crisis,” Ipsos said in its report on Tuesday.
“Cars sales will happen in a very big way for those who are upwardly mobile and have money. This would definitely mean a reduction in the business of Ola and Uber. They might focus on enterprise side such as partnering with e-commerce, food delivery firms because that is where foreseeable money is, otherwise they will lose drivers,” Sanchit Vir Gogia, Founder and CEO of consultancy firm Greyhound Research had recently told Financial Express Online.