To help meet an increased need for deliveries and provide its drivers with work, Lyft is launching a pilot program in which government agencies, nonprofits, businesses and healthcare organizations can request on-demand deliveries via Lyft drivers. The program, called Essential Deliveries, is meant to transport things like meals, groceries, medical supplies, hygiene products and other necessities.
According to Lyft, drivers will be paid similarly to Standard rides, and all deliveries will be contact-free. For now, the Essential Deliveries pilot is available in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio and Seattle. In the coming weeks, Lyft plans to expand the program to more drivers and cities across the US.
So far, partners include organizations like Dole Packaged Foods, which is having food delivered from its warehouses to senior facilities, and Army of Angels, which is having school lunches delivered to low-income families. Lyft is in talks with groups in North Carolina and Atlanta, which plan to deliver food from food banks to low-income communities.
Lyft began planning Essential Deliveries last month, when it announced that its drivers would ferry food and medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. It piloted the food deliveries first in San Francisco. It has also promised drivers who contract COVID-19 or are required to quarantine with two weeks of paid sick time, and it’s offering free bike-share and scooter rides to critical workers.
Lyft isn’t the only rideshare company expanding its offerings. Yesterday, Postmates announced that it will deliver products from Walgreens/Duane Reade and 7-Eleven, and DoorDash drivers are also picking up items from convenience stores. These additional services could help drivers who have seen the demand for rides drop off drastically. Hopefully, the programs won’t expose them to the virus.