In an effort to help both driver and riders during the shutdown Uber has launched package delivery and dedicated hourly drivers in most major cities.

While many customers had already been using Uber for package delivery for a while the ride-share giant has now made the ability to deliver packages via drivers official. Called Uber Connect you can now see the option within the Uber rider app as an option when ordering a trip. The same driver who could’ve been your X or Eats driver can now pick up these Connect packages. Customers who had been utilising Uber for package delivery previously could tell you the advantages of using Uber over regular courier services is that it’s direct, point-to-point (not being sent to a hub and then handled by many different drivers), don’t have to fill out long forms and you can completely track it. Insurance and packaging aside it’s a great solution for riders and drivers, giving them more opportunity to cover the lost income with less passenger demand.

Another kind of new service that has also launched and likely more in response to the current COVID-19 shutdown is the ability to hire your dedicated Uber driver for an hour more. Again, savvy passengers have been doing this for a while but Uber has now made this a little bit easier and more attractive from a driver’s POV. Called the aptly named Uber Hourly Driver it will again show up as a trip option in the rider app and gives the passenger the ability to hire the driver by-the-hour and make as many stops as the rider desires. This is aimed at attracting riders who may need to get a bit done and make many trips but wants to minimise the amount of interaction they have with strangers, thereby minimising the risk of being in contact with someone who may have COVID-19. The financial incentive is sufficiently significant that drivers should be happy to wait.

It’s great to see these kind of innovations from companies that should be a win-win for customers and suppliers.

Don’t forget you can also set up your Uber account with your home automation setup using IFTTT.