lyft launches online grocery delivery in the U.S.

Lyft is getting into the online grocery delivery business announcing plans to provide groceries, meals and medical suppliers to people in need in the U.S. during the coronavirus crisis.

The company said the initiative will provide earning opportunities to drivers suffering from a near-total collapse in demand for ride-hailing trips and said its drivers could be booked to deliver goods on behalf of government agencies, non-profit groups, businesses and healthcare organizations.

Drivers would be paid in the same way as for ride-hailing trips, based on the distance and time they travel, a Lyft spokeswoman said in a Reuters news story.

But payment for the delivery service comes from a variety of sources, according to the spokeswoman, including from Lyft, the partner organizations themselves and Mastercard Inc, which has partnered with Lyft.

Lyft said its initial partners for delivery services included Dole Packaged Foods and a group providing meals to students in need.

Lyft's larger rival, Uber Technologies Inc, already offers drivers an alternative to transporting passengers with its restaurant food delivery platform.

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