After teasing us with the possibilities of delivery by drones, then bringing us back to Earth with delivery by taxis, Amazon has now resorted to perhaps the most obvious and time-tested method of getting something somewhere fast in a big city: bikes.
In New York City, Amazon has started to beta test bike messenger delivery, according the Wall Street Journal. The service is called Amazon Prime Now and "mimics the immediacy of in-store shopping by bringing some merchandise to customers in Manhattan within one hour or two".
Interestingly, Amazon has built out a kind of bike messenger clubhouse in New York's Midtown where couriers are meant to hang out between deliveries. It has a foosball table and an arcade. But the space will also act as a warehouse for customers who can make returns there, if needed.
In many cities if you're an Amazon Prime member you can pay an extra a same day delivery. Perhaps Amazon Prime Now will charge an additional surcharge for getting deliveries there in one hour or less, which with bikes is certainly a reality for most of Manhattan.
Clearly these tests are isolated to the US at the moment, but it is a scheme that could be implemented relatively easily in cities worldwide if it was deemed a success. Would you trust your goods to a cycling courier, if the service was available to you? [WSJ]