Lyft trials Essential Deliveries delivery service
The rideshare provider is diversifying as demand plummets.
Lyft is making a long-awaited expansion into delivery, a move that might generate more work for its drivers as general demand for rideshare services has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lyft Essential Deliveries service is somewhat different to Uber Eats from Lyft’s key rival, Uber, which offers deliveries of carry-out from restaurants.
Crucially, it can’t be used by just anyone with a Lyft account.
Only approved nonprofits, government organizations and businesses can use the service to organize deliveries of medical supplies, food and household essentials to vulnerable individuals or to community delivery hubs.
Lyft is initially trialing Essential Deliveries with a pilot in 11 cities:
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- San Antonio
Many of these locations have seen high levels of reported COVID-19 infections and deaths. However, New York City, the most affected city in the US, is not currently part of the trial.
Lyft has said it will expand into more cities as it signs up additional partners.
“Whether it’s meals for high-risk seniors or medical supplies for individuals with a medical condition, Lyft’s community of drivers is ready to help meet the needs of our communities while earning additional income,” Lisa Boyd, Lyft’s director of social impact, said in a blog post announcing the new project.
In March, Lyft expanded its LyftUp initiative, which donates Lyft ride credits to vulnerable groups, to include medical workers and other essential services. It has partnered with United Way, the National Council on Aging and other nonprofits to deliver those credits. Lyft says 120,000 drivers have signed up for its LyftUp Driver Community Task Force since that expansion.