By Gugu Lourie for Tech Financials
Uber is launching Uber Direct in South Africa as coronavirus minimises the demand for its traditional ride-hailing business.
Uber Direct is an on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solution for businesses.
Businesses can use Uber Direct to move their goods within their supply chain, and between locations to better balance supply and demand, ensuring customers receive their orders when required.
“This is our broadest effort yet to help businesses meet unprecedented demand for delivery, and helping people stay at home while still getting the items they need,” Alon Lits, director for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa explains.
“Uber Direct also allows us to unlock economic opportunities for delivery people and drivers now and beyond the lockdown. Safety continues to be a top priority, and we are regularly providing drivers and delivery people with information to help them stay safe.”
Millions of people around South Africa go without food each day, with the lockdown and continued call for self-distancing, this number is expected to increase.
South Africa has extended its 21-day lockdown by two weeks to the end of April.
Uber has partnered with the Western Cape Department of Health and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver medication to South Africa’s citizens most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Dr Giovanni Perez, Chief Director of Metro District Health Services at the Western Cape Government Department of Health says, “This partnership is a great example of how the public and private sector can work together, regardless of any challenges, for the well-being of the people.“
In the first two weeks of the partnership, over 25 000 people received their medication, with many more safe and contactless deliveries being made daily.
Oumar Seydi, Africa Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation highlights how important this initiative is as part of the COVID19 response, ‘Finding innovative ways of protecting the most vulnerable populations is critical at this time and we are honoured to be part of this innovation to get medication in the hands of those who need it most.”
Uber has also partnered with SA Harvest, a food rescue organisation that aims to eradicate food waste, to expand and optimise deliveries to their beneficiary organisations in the Western Cape. This is to ensure more vulnerable people are fed daily and will further allow SA Harvest to expand their deliveries in Gauteng in the coming weeks.