Next same-day delivery player: Sidecar? (Well, it was an accident)

Ridesharing company Sidecar has inadvertently become an occasional same-day delivery service, thanks to the work of a few hackers.

Some Sidecar customers have decided the ridesharing company would also make for a pretty convenient delivery service, and have hacked the San Francisco-based ride app to turn it into a personal courier, Sidecar Founder and CEO Sunil Paul said Friday at the Shared-Use Mobility Summit in San Francisco. Through the hack, he said, customers will enter their favorite pizza restaurant as the passenger pick up location, and then request the Sidecar driver pick up a large cheese pie and deliver it to their house.

Which, of course, is not the point of ridesharing — a business model based on multiple people sharing one vehicle for environmental and social benefits.

And hackers aren’t just asking for pizza, Paul said. Drivers are being sent to drugstores and grocery stores, asked to pick up cold medicine or snacks, and deliver it to the “passenger’s” home. Except the “passenger” doesn’t get in the car.

Paul said the hacks are just a handful of users, and drivers can always refuse the delivery requests. But Paul has no intention of blocking the hacks. He’ll allow the pizza delivery requests to continue, for now.

When asked if Sidecar will get into the same-day delivery business, Paul said he planned to wait and “see what happens.”

Certainly anything is possible.¬†Sidecar is quickly adding drivers and passengers. The decision by the California Public Utilities Commission last month to approve new regulations that keep peer-to-peer ride services on the road was a boon for Sidecar. Since the commissioners’ vote, Sidecar has seen a 50 percent jump in applications from perspective drivers, and the accompany expanded its service to San Diego, Long Beach and Oakland, Paul said. It’s added a new application in the last three weeks to encourage users with similar destinations to ride together.

Bay Area consumers have certainly developed a taste for same-day delivery. Google last month launched publicly its Shopping Express business, a same-day delivery service that connects local merchants to residents living in San Francisco south to San Jose. Ebay began ¬† testing same-day delivery in San Francisco last year, and the service, which promises delivery from local stores in one hour or less, is now available throughout the Peninsula. Others including Shutl, a UK-based delivery service for online retailers, and Amazon’s same-day grocery delivery are also preparing to launch in San Francisco.


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  • Robert Collins

    The hack is a good one. I like the idea of having goods delivered quickly. This really does highlight the difference between true ridesharing companies and for profit schemes.
    If the goal is to reduce cars on roads and make more efficient use of the transport infrastructure we have then encouraging couriers and taxis is not the way to go about it.

    Still if it works out at a reasonable price, go for it!