Uber on Thursday launched a new last-mile delivery service for essential supplies in the midst of a nationwide lockdown with online grocery retailer bigbasket as its first client. The ride hailing company said it will not charge any commissions on the deliveries.

Uber will deploy a mix of UberGo, UberXL and UberMoto, and share its technology and its network of delivery partners to support bigbasket. India is currently under a 21-day lockdown, which comes to an end on April 14, to contain the spread of the new Coronavirus. According to the ministry of health, India currently has 1,860 active cases of the Covid-19, and has recorded 53 deaths so far.

Meanwhile, e-commerce companies delivering essential goods like groceries, food, fruits, dairy, medicines, and vegetables have faced harassment on the road from the police and local authorities despite the government saying that essential services are allowed. Many had to shut down their delivery services, which are slowly resuming in some cities.

“This last-mile delivery service provides multiple wins. It supports authorities in containing Covid-19, delivers essential supplies in a timely manner to customers and creates earning opportunities for drivers,” said Prabhjeet Singh, director-operations and had of cities, Uber India & South Asia.

The service will enable bigbasket to serve its customers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Noida, Uber said in a statement.

“The ongoing pan-India lockdown has led to a disruption in the supply of essential goods, primarily led by a shortage of personnel and delivery vehicles. We are very happy to partner with Uber India for this initiative and we will be utilising a portion of their huge fleet of cars, bikes as well as personnel to help with our deliveries to fulfill customer orders,” said Lalita Aggarwal, national process head-last mile, bigbasket.

All Uber drivers associated with this service have been provided masks, gloves, sanitisers, and specialised safety training in order to comply with government guidelines to contain the spread of Covid-19, Uber added.

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