Thursday, July 25, 2024

Uber launches program to pick up your packages at brick-and-mortar stores

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The time crunch of the holidays gets more and more intense the closer we get to the end of December. Now, Uber is hoping to take advantage of people’s frenzied schedules to raise profits—and act as Santa’s helper.

The ride-share service has announced plans for its drivers to act as couriers, picking up and delivering prepaid items for you from brick-and-mortar stores. That can help people quickly get the gifts they’re hoping to give without breaking away from end-of-year responsibilities at work or home.

The service, which went live today, is available in 1,700 U.S. cities, with most metro areas included. To take advantage of the deal, you’ll buy an item from a local store online, then upload the receipt to Uber. From there, you can have it delivered to you—or, if you prefer, to the recipient directly. Buyers can track the status of the delivery via the Uber app.

It’s part of a suite of holiday offers from the company. Uber is also offering people in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. the chance to book a ride in the Festive Fleet, a collection of holiday-themed buses with photo props, holiday lights, and karaoke. It’s also putting red noses on its fleet of food delivery robots in Los Angeles; Miami; and Fairfax, Va.

And, if the gift you get is not the gift you want, Uber Connect will pick up five or fewer sealed packages from your house and take them to the post office, UPS, or FedEx store. Uber One members will have access to free package returns through the first week of January.

Uber has been rolling out a number of new features this year, including letting London cab drivers sign up for Uber trip referrals, striking a delivery deal with Domino’s for the Uber Eats app, and offering an AI assistant to help with everything from meal planning to finding deals.

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