Amazon tries out taxi deliveries in California cities, Wall Street Journal reports

Amazon.com is testing deliveries via taxis in San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the Internet retailer explores alternative modes of delivery to speed up shipments while restraining cost. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Amazon.com is testing deliveries via taxis in San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the Internet retailer explores alternative modes of delivery to speed up shipments while restraining cost. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Amazon.com is testing deliveries via taxis in San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the Internet retailer explores alternative modes of delivery to speed up shipments while restraining cost.

Amazon is using the taxi-hailing mobile app, Flywheel, to ship parcels via licensed cabs, studying the feasibility of using taxi fleets more broadly as a delivery avenue, the Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying.

The e-commerce company, stung by shipping delays last Christmas blamed on services such as UPS and Fedex , has been exploring various options from regional couriers to its own delivery vehicles.

In its latest test, Amazon summoned cabs through Flywheel to distribution centres, from where they picked up as many as 10 packages bound for the same location at about US$5 (S$6.47) a package, the Journal reported.

The deliveries usually took place early in the morning, when taxi traffic was low and the competition unlikely to notice, the paper cited the people as saying.