In the ongoing march to its outsized IPO, Uber is trying out yet another delivery product. But this time, instead of bringing you packages or food, the company wants to help you move.
UberCargo, which is being tested in Hong Kong right now, connects people with cargo vans that can help move bigger items, like mattresses and “large pets.” It can also be used like a taxi service for people traveling with big gear, such as surfers or bands. It’s not clear from Uber’s post why it picked Hong Kong as its testing ground, or when the option might roll out to other locations (I’ve reached out to the company for clarification and will update this when I hear back).
The fee will depend on both time and distance and loading time will be included. In Hong Kong, the base fare will be US$2.58 ($20 Hong Kong dollars), with additional per minute and per mile costs. Check out the breakdown here. You can ask the driver for help with that part, although their assistance doesn’t sound guaranteed from Uber’s blog post.
This isn’t the first of Uber’s delivery experiments. Part of the reason it has a $40 billion valuation is because it plans to transform urban logistics; it won’t be content with just changing the nature of the taxi industry. It’s testing couriers in New York City for letters and smaller packages, drivers in Los Angeles for food delivery, and corner store delivery in Washington D.C.
But Uber-for-moving may be the most helpful product yet. It opens up a ton of opportunities for the carless: Lugging stuff home from Ikea, purchasing items off Craigslist, traveling with hefty equipment. Farewell, expensive moving services and unwieldy U-hauls — you can stick with the family with far more stuff than the average single city-dweller. And good luck to the many on-demand moving apps that have formed in recent months. With Uber as a competitor, it will be a tough fight.
UberCargo could be the most useful thing for the carless urban dweller since … well … Uber itself.
Assuming its vans aren’t too creepy, of course. Twitter, for its part, has wasted no time in imagining the dystopian future of UberCargo:
— Jamie Smallwood (@jamiesmallwood) January 8, 2015
come on uber, this is getting ridiculous pic.twitter.com/vEFGaFidzQ
— drew olanoff (@yoda) January 8, 2015