Amazon tests Uber-like service for deliveries

AP News
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Posted: Sep 29, 2015 4:48 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is testing an Uber-like service for delivering its one-hour Prime Now packages that will enlist people to deliver packages for Amazon with their own cars.

In order to offer the speedy deliveries Amazon will pay drivers $18 to $25 an hour via its new Amazon Flex program. The move comes before the bustlingly busy November and December holiday shopping period.

And it comes as startup on-demand delivery services such as Postmates and Shyp proliferate. Ride-sharing service Uber itself has been rolling out a food delivery service UberEats.

Drivers have to be at least 21 years old and pass a criminal background check and motor vehicle records review.

People in Seattle can sign up now. The program is expected to roll out to New York City's Manhattan, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland.

Amazon has been expanding its Prime Now service for members of its $99 annual Prime loyalty program. The service delivers a wide range of items including paper towels, wine and beer (in Seattle only), chilled and frozen items like milk and ice cream and televisions and Kindle device in one or two hours. Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available for $7.99. It now offers Prime Now in 11 cities with across the country with plans to roll out to more.

On its website, Amazon said currently it's only offering the program to drivers, but in the future it might let people bike or walk the packages to their destination.

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. fell $7.99 to $496.07. Its shares are up 54 percent from a year ago.