Uber India starts delivering groceries amid coronavirus crisis

Uber has tied up with multiple retail chains to deliver groceries to people stuck at home during India’s ongoing 21-day lockdown.

The ride-hailing company announced a partnership today with Walmart-owned ecommerce giant Flipkart in the country to deliver essential goods to customers in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Last week, Uber unveiled several such deals with retails chains and grocery delivery startups such as BigBasket and Spencer’s Retail. 

[Read: How Ford Australia is solving car-servicing during coronavirus pandemic]

Last month, India’s largest cab-hailing platforms, Uber and Ola, both halted their services in several cities after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus. While the lockdown allowed delivery of essential items such as food, medicine, and grocery, cab services were halted.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

The lockdown also raised concern as to how drivers on these apps will earn money during the period. Now, with these new initiatives, drivers might be able to earn some money through deliveries. To that end, Uber said it will not charge any commission and all the money earned through these deliveries will be given to drivers.

On the other hand, online retailers have faced a manpower shortage to keep up with the demand for a rising number of orders. While online grocery startups such as BigBasket and Grofers have said that they’ll hire additional staff, there’s no clarity as to when this additional personnel will join these companies.

Uber is offering its grocery delivery services in other countries such as Brazil, Spain, and Australia.

India’s lockdown is set to end on April 14, as of now. So, Uber’s grocery delivery program might depend on if it gets extended. We’ve asked the company for more details, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

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