Uber is supporting cities and communities around the world in a unique way, but did you ever dream they would be delivering toilet paper?
Since quarantine has drastically diminished our need for Uber rides, drivers have found themselves out of work. Business Insider surveyed over 1,000 drivers who are still working and found their weekly earnings have plummeted 50-80%. Some drivers have relied on secondary work with companies such as Doordash or Postmates to make up lost funds. Due to virus safety concerns, others decided to stop driving completely.
The ever-present need to pay the bills has put all drivers at risk for getting COVID-19. The Hustle interviewed a driver who has been taking people to the hospital: “I had one guy get into my car who was hacking for 10 minutes straight. I pulled over and cleaned my car for 20 minutes after.”
The virus-sparked fear and financial loss have left Uber scrambling to find a solution. Uber has withdrawn its 2020 guidance for gross bookings, adjusted net revenue, and adjusted EBITDA. In addition, they anticipate a writedown of up to $2.2 billion. “Given the evolving nature of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it has caused for every industry in every part of the world, it is impossible to predict with precision the pandemic’s cumulative impact on our future financial results,” Uber said in a statement.
In order to combat financial loss, Uber announced two new projects: Uber Direct and Uber Connect. According to Uber Newsroom, both projects are available in select cities and vow to “help drivers find essential work today, while unlocking new opportunities in the future”.
Uber Direct is an addition to Uber Eats that allows you to order groceries and have them delivered to your doorstep — contact-free, of course. In New York City they’ve partnered with Cabinet to bring over-the-counter medication to those in need.
Several other partnerships around the world include Greencross for pet supplies, CTT delivering packages, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which delivers medication to those at a higher risk for COVID-19.
Uber Connect allows you to send packages or needed supplies to friends or family members. Uber claims this is a cost-effective option available in over 25 cities, with same-day, contact-free delivery. So whether it’s a puzzle, a giant bottle of hand sanitizer, or a sacred roll of toilet paper, you can now make almost anything magically appear at your door using the Uber app.
Uber isn’t the only company doing its part to help local communities. Lyft partnered up with over 500 non-profits, schools, and businesses through LyftUp — their effort to serve those in need and give drivers an opportunity to earn more. Lyft is offering free rides to those in vulnerable communities and for front-line workers.
They’re also delivering food and life-sustaining medical supplies. Drivers are encouraged to join the LyftUp Driver Community Task Force in order to take part in this new movement.
Even though we’re all stuck at home, it seems these transportation companies are figuring out how to cater to our needs anyway.
One irony? In a press statement Uber described themselves in an unusual way: “The company that moves people is asking you not to move.”
So continue to stay safe at home and order all your essentials — toilet paper included.