At the weekend Uber announced that it would be adding two new services to its range of offerings – Uber Direct and Uber Connect.

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a number of lockdowns or stay-at-home instructions, use of the Uber ridesharing app has expected slumped, so the firm has looked at innovative ways to stay viable, as well as assist those who cannot use transport at this time.

At the time it was unclear whether these services would be made available in South Africa, but now it is confirmed that Uber Direct will be launching in the country.

“The current lockdown has resulted in essential movement only, affecting retailers and businesses and limiting access to essentials like medication and food, especially for those most vulnerable. Uber has responded to this by quickly adapting their technology to offer Uber Direct, an on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solution for businesses,” the firm explained in a press release sent to Hypertext.

As Uber Direct gets off the ground, it will be partnering with other companies and businesses to assist with delivering essential goods to those in need of them.

In the Western Cape for example, Uber has partnered with the Department of Health and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The partnership has seen 25 000 people in the province receive medication without having to leave their home over the past two weeks.

Elsewhere in the province, SA Harvest is using Uber Direct to expand and optimise deliveries to beneficiary organisations in the Western Cape.

Outside of its newly forged partnerships, Uber is hoping that its new service is leveraged by businesses in the country, and specifically those that need to move their goods within their supply chain, and between locations to ensure customers receive their orders when required.

“This is just a start. Uber will continue to leverage their technology to quickly adapt and meet the changing needs of businesses and customers, wherever they are. Uber is ready to work with more cities, businesses, food banks, hospitals and others to move whatever matters most to them,” the firm concludes.

Organisations, healthcare workers and government entities interested in ride or delivery support, can find out more by filling out Uber’s contact form here.