Lyft's new Essential Deliveries is for hospitals and organizations

Ride-hailing service Lyft has announced a new pilot initiative called Essential Deliveries that will allow its drivers to deliver various goods to certain customers, including hospitals, non-profit organizations, and more. Under this initiative, customers can request essential items like groceries, meals, hygiene products, medical supplies, and similar items.

Demand for rides through services like Uber and Lyft are down. This isn't as much of a problem for Uber drivers who can transition to UberEATS, which delivers meals from restaurants to customers. The downturn has been problematic for Lyft, however, which was recently directing its drivers to Amazon for temporary employment during the pandemic.

The ride-hailing company recently launched its LyftUp Driver Community Task Force and now it is back with a pilot initiative called Essential Deliveries. The service offers on-demand essential goods deliveries to approved customers; the items are delivered by Lyft drivers. The initiative meets two needs, according to Lyft: helping drivers make money and helping businesses get the items they need.

Both drivers and organizations must opt-in to the new Essential Deliveries service, which offers pay similar to what drivers would get from regular rides. Lyft says it has partnered with Dole Packaged Foods, for example, to deliver food directly to senior care facilities.

The company is launching this service in a number of initial locations, including Indianapolis, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Orlando, Phoenix, and more. Lyft plans to expand Essential Deliveries to cover more locations and to include additional partnerships, such as with Loaves & Fishes in North Carolina and Urban Recipes in Atlanta. Among other things, the service will be used to help get food to food banks.