Amazon has partnered with the taxi-hailing app Flywheel to test package delivery in some markets.
Amazon conducted tests this fall in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is now considering broader use of taxis, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quoted people who spoke under the condition of anonymity.
The experiments really shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Amazon has already inked an extensive partnership with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sunday, and now also, groceries in some markets.
Likewise, the concept is already being vetted by Uber, the burgeoning transportation startup app.
It is currently testing a service, called Corner Store, that delivers drug store items using its fleet of drivers with a push of a button. The program is available to some users in Washington, DC, who are able to pick from a very limited umber of items for same-day delivery. Uber has also tested a lunch delivery service called UberFresh, which allows users in Santa Monica to purchase a meal from a local restaurant and have it delivered to them.
Using taxis for delivery is the latest experiment by Amazon, which is always looking for alternatives to the major carrier options to get packages to customers on time. For this test, The Wall Street Journal said Amazon summoned cabs using the Flywheel app to mini-distribution centers before loading them with as many as 10 packages bound for a single ZIP Code.
It paid about $5 per package for delivery within one hour. Amazon typically conducted the tests when cabs were less busy, like in the morning.
Flywheel is a Redwood City, Calif. startup that competes with both Uber and Lyft, two ride-sharing apps. The WSJ said it is close to announce a new round of fundraising this month to expand beyond its major hubs in Seattle, San Francisco and LA.
EBay, which is also testing same-day delivery, acquired Shutl to handle its logistics. Shutl taps into excess capacity in the delivery industry, by allowing vetted drivers to bid on deliveries. Instead of delivering from warehouses, eBay has signed up retailers — like Best Buy, Target and Macy’s — and picks up inventory from those stores.