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Uber has made it clear that its technology makes tasks both more transparent and faster. But how big a business it can make out of slapping a consumer-facing app on top of un-sexy, old-school businesses is its biggest challenge.
Uber is launching an on-demand courier service today in Manhattan, allowing users to request item pickup and delivery via a smartphone app.
According to a job listing obtained by VentureBeat, Uber plans to pay bike couriers between $20 and $30 per hour for “on-demand deliveries.” Uber plans to give couriers a free iPhone 4S, allowing them to “receive pickup requests from nearby customers.”
Uber has released an official statement confirming the news. The service will be called UberRUSH.
Earlier, VentureBeat was in contact with Uber regarding this report, but the company had not confirmed or denied it.
While Uber is planning to announce the news, the company hasn’t kept too quiet about its plans. Uber has listed delivery jobs on Craigslist and even shared hints at the new service on Twitter [below].
We’re rolling out some big news on Tuesday… pic.twitter.com/1pDPy8oV2p
— Uber NYC (@Uber_NYC) April 5, 2014
Uber requires that couriers be over the age of 21 and able to travel by bike, and/or an unlimited Metro card. Couriers must also complete a background check and stop by Uber’s New York office for an “onboarding session.”
This new initiative compliments past Uber experiments, like when the company offered Christmas tree delivery in New York.
Uber’s delivery service arrives at a unique time for New York. The city is saturated with on-demand delivery services.
While the two services differ in many ways, the timing is curious.
Uber’s upcoming service only allows for pickup and delivery of items — no purchases will be made by couriers. This means the service falls more in line with traditional bike couriers.
WunWun, however, aims to operate more like a personal assistant than a delivery utility.
They may be different, but they’re still competitors.
Uber has shown aggression against Gett in the past. Uber employees reportedly posed as pedestrians on the service to overload Gett with false requests and to recruit its drivers. To see the two companies go head-to-head like this is certainly entertaining.
This article originally appeared on VentureBeat