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Lyft finally wades into delivery to help drivers earn cash during the pandemic

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Lyft is launching a brand new supply service geared toward serving to drivers earn cash in the course of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As demand for ride-hailing collapses, Lyft’s new pilot program will faucet drivers to ship “important” gadgets like groceries, medical provides, and residential items.

For years, Lyft has lagged behind its rival, Uber, in supply, however with the pandemic leaving many drivers out of labor and the demand for supply rising, the corporate is lastly wading in. The initiative, first teased final month, is named Important Deliveries, and it will likely be obtainable in 11 cities — together with Atlanta, Dallas, and Seattle — to start out out.

The supply service will look quite a bit totally different than customer-facing companies like Uber Eats, Door Sprint, and Instacart. Accredited companions, which embody authorities companies, native nonprofits, companies, and well being care organizations, can schedule buyer deliveries by means of a web-based portal that may then be picked up by Lyft drivers.

Recipients will embody seniors and folks with compromised immune methods who need to decrease threat of publicity to COVID-19. Lyft says it would additionally ship to low-income people and households that lack entry to dependable transportation. For instance, one in all Lyft’s authorized companions, Dole Packaged Meals, will use the service to ship fruit merchandise from its warehouses to senior amenities in Seattle.

Lyft says it would increase this system throughout the nation because it indicators up extra companions. The corporate is presently solely obtainable in North America.

Supply isn’t the one approach Lyft has needed to adapt in the course of the pandemic. The corporate can also be offering free and discounted bike-share passes and e-scooter rides to important staff in half a dozen cities. Free or low cost bike and scooter journeys are particularly helpful as public transportation ridership continues to plummet in most cities and ride-sharing will not be seen as a secure various. In actual fact, there was a surge in biking in New York Metropolis, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

After all, Lyft’s ride-sharing enterprise has plummeted as well being officers instruct individuals to keep away from pointless journey. The corporate’s rides enterprise has been minimize in half in current weeks, according to The Information. Lyft’s income after paying drivers is prone to be lower than $150 million a month presently, down from about $260 million a month in the course of the first quarter of final 12 months, the publication studies. Uber has additionally seen an enormous drop in demand and gross sales.

The pandemic has additionally exacerbated Lyft’s labor issues. Each corporations have come underneath fireplace for classifying drivers and supply staff as unbiased contractors. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote a letter to gig companies calling on them to “reclassify your supply staff as staff, fairly than unbiased contractors, and guarantee they’re offered a full suite of worker protections and advantages.”

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