Uber has teamed up with BigBasket to start a new last-mile delivery service, in order to make access to everyday essentials easier for people during the coronavirus crisis and the nationwide lockdown. In a blog post, the company announced that it is starting the service with BigBasket to save people from the risk of stepping out to get supplies, while maintaining all the traffic and hygiene regulations. Apart from helping people ensure they don't step out during the lockdown to procure essentials, it also provides employment to drivers who are currently unable to ply on roads in the country thanks to the COVID-19 situation.
The blog post from Uber's Director of Operations, and Head of Cities in India & South Asia, Prabhjeet Singh, said that the company will deploy its fleet of UberGo, UberXL, and UberMoto to help ensure reliable delivery of essentials. The company has launched the service in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, and Noida only as of now. Uber also said it will not charge a commission in order to provide this service, and drivers will keep all the money they are paid.
Lalita Aggarwal, BigBasket's National Process Head for the Last Mile project said that BigBasket will be utilising a portion of Uber's fleet of cars, bikes as well as personnel to help with deliveries to fulfil customer orders. “The ongoing pan-India lockdown has led to a disruption in the supply of essential goods, primarily led by a shortage of personnel and delivery vehicles. We are very happy to partner with Uber India for this initiative and we will be utilising a portion of their huge fleet of cars, bikes as well as personnel to help with our deliveries to fulfill customer orders," Aggarwal was quoted as saying in the blog post. She further said that BigBasket is “thankful to Uber India for helping deliver essential goods to thousands of customers and the opportunity to provide financial sustenance to many drivers and riders during this time.”
Uber further cleared that its deliveries will take place in line with the guidelines set by the government. All Uber drivers associated with this service are being provided personal protection equipment like masks, gloves, sanitisers, and special training to maintain safety and hygiene.
Uber's decision to start an essentials delivery service comes at a time when startups across the country are making efforts to ensure people don't face difficulties during the coronavirus crisis. It was recently reported by Gadgets 360 that BigBasket was using cab aggregators and restaurant associations to make deliveries in several cities across the country, and the latest announcement by Uber and BigBasket marks the first official word by the two on the initiative. E-commerce first such as Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, and Grofers are struggling to deliver essentials in this lockdown period, and this is just one of the steps - and a commendable one - being taken to address the restrictions placed upon them.
As we mentioned, the move is also commendable as apart from helping those customers affected by the lockdown still procure their essential supplies without stepping out, it also helps give gainful employment to cab drivers of aggregators like Uber.
Recently, Uber rival Ola also launched a similar service in Karnataka, where the cab aggregator offered 500 cabs from its fleet to the state government to help with the relief work. Earlier, Ola's founder Bhavish Agarwal had let go of his one year's salary to raise funds for Ola drivers.