Transportation giant Uber announced early today it is in the process of hiring drivers for its newest service, which it will roll out at the end of the month. Uber Screech! aims to connect customers to fresh roadkill starting April 31st.
“It’s just a natural extension of our highly successful food delivery service,” explained Ima Hunn-Gray, director of marketing and logistics for Uber Eats. She detailed the genesis of the idea, which happened at her own home.
“I’d placed an order from a deli, and was watching from my kitchen window. This deer had been eating from my neighbor’s bird feeder, but then turned and began crossing the street. The snow was falling, and it was such a beautiful moment. I thought, ‘I should get a video of this,’ but didn’t want to miss it, you know?”
Hunn-Gray was still attentive when the delivery driver came careening around the corner and plowed right into the deer.
“He smashed that deer— totally creamed it. Didn’t even slow down. I guess he was looking at his phone, trying to find my house, and had no idea.”
The deer landed dead as a doornail, at the foot of her driveway.
“When he finally came back, he pulled in right next to it. Never even acknowledged it. He handed me the bag and said, ‘Sorry it took so long,’ and left again.”
Dinner for months had landed in her driveway while she was waiting for one sandwich from a deli (over an hour for that very deli delivery). Hunn-Gray said that’s when she had the proverbial lightbulb moment.
“It’s estimated that our drivers have over 800,000 collisions with animals annually, and that’s just in the food delivery division. We had no plan in place to deal with that. That’s not to say we’re going to help our drivers get their cars fixed. But we saw an opportunity to capitalize.”
As a result, Uber drivers will soon be able to report run-ins with animals of all sorts by simply tapping an icon on their phone’s screen. That will in turn alert the nearest Screech! driver to stand by.
On the user side, those interested in receiving said roadkill need only download the free Uber Screech! app and pay the delivery fee, which starts at a mere $35. When they decide which kind of roadkill they’d like to receive, customers simply choose the size of their delivery, then sit back and wait.
Choices will include large hooved animals like deer and elk, gamebirds including turkey and pheasant, and smaller furry animals including house cat (which have been called ‘the Other Other White Meat’).
Hunn-Gray said demand is expected to be high, and that the company is proud to provide another premium service to the community.
When asked about the name of the app, she explained it is supposed to evoke the screeching of tires, a sound which typically precedes a roadkill event.
“Yeah, we’re actually in the process of training drivers across all divisions to try to remember to tap the brakes a little before they hit animals. It probably won’t make a difference in how many get killed, but we want to at least give the impression of driving carefully.”