Amazon has started using New York's subway system for its new Prime Now one-hour delivery service to beat the city's notorious jams. The London-based international courier ParcelHero says the move makes sense as subways are frequently faster than city streets and stations are an ideal place to install parcel lockers. The company also asks if the UK will see a similar Amazon service?
ParcelHero spokesman David Jinks MILT says: 'The railway infrastructure has its part to play in a modern delivery network, on both sides of the Atlantic. While in the UK the Royal Mail regrettably abandoned rail back in 2003, in the United States companies such as ParcelHero-partner UPS still use trains as part of a mix of road, rail and air transport. While there's no sign of parcels returning to the tracks in the UK, it would be fascinating to see if Amazon's delivery partners start to ride the London Underground to quicken delivery times.'
An Amazon spokesman has told London's Financial Times: 'In Manhattan, our folks bike, walk or use public transportation. They only drive if the item is large like a flat screen TV.' ParcelHero's David Jinks adds: 'Amazon's couriers in New York are taking large trolleys into the subway network; which might not be such a hit with rush hour commuters on London's tube network. However the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority says it is happy to see subway services used for deliveries providing passenger flow and trains are not impeded. We wonder how Transport for London would respond to such a move?'
Says David: 'In the UK, even though you're more likely to see a steam train than a mail train, and the sun – or perhaps that should be moon – set on the final Red Star parcels service some twenty years ago, railway stations are rapidly becoming popular parcel pick up points for Amazon and other services. It's small wonder as they have a very high footfall and people can use them to pick up items on their way home, saving an extra journey.'
David continues: 'Amazon already has lockers at Finchley Central and Newbury Park Underground stations, and, working with Doddle, at many main line stations as well. Just this week it has also announced new lockers at MerseyRail stations around Liverpool as well. Travellers to Liverpool Central, Liverpool South Parkway, Moorfields and Southport will be able to pick up their items 24-7.'
Concludes David: 'Perhaps it's time for package deliveries to get back on track, on both sides of the Atlantic. Even if parcels don't actually arrive on the Night Mail anymore, the traditional railway station is actually an ideal location for today's hi-tech automated luggage lockers.'