With the official launch of its proposed drone-based delivery service still some way off (if indeed it ever gets off the ground), Amazon is reportedly exploring a range of other options for getting packages from fulfillment center to customer in super-quick time.
These include our ol’ two-wheel friend the bicycle, with the Web giant now testing a service in New York City for getting packages to Amazon customers within two hours, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
While it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a bike messenger hurtling down Fifth Avenue with a 65-inch Sony TV strapped to his back, the service could certainly work for smaller items and if launched would further blur the line between online stores and traditional brick-and-mortar sellers.
Amazon is currently testing the speed and efficiency of three courier companies, sending a number of bike-based workers out on timed mock deliveries from its new Manhattan base to addresses around the borough (they have to take a photo of the destination address to prove they made it there).
The Journal reported seeing a stream of messengers embarking on time trials from Amazon’s recently acquired West 34th Street premises, which, according to one source, is equipped with “foosball, pool and air hockey tables; an arcade; and other amenities for messengers hanging out between deliveries.” The cyclists are reportedly paid $15 an hour.
Dubbed Amazon Prime Now, the service would get items to buyers even more quickly than the same-day delivery option currently offered by the e-commerce giant in a number of U.S. cities.
It’s not clear how much shoppers will have to pay for an Amazon Prime Now delivery, though presumably the fee would be higher than the $6 same-day fee Prime members are charged, or $9 for non-Prime customers.