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Amazon eyeing London Underground for delivery service

22 May 2015 - 09:35 by Mike Price

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A new delivery service already rolled out in New York could see Amazon harnessing the tube system in London, so that couriers can get parcels and packages to people who order them online as quickly as possible.

However, there are concerns that if Amazon does start sending people onto underground trains to fulfil deliveries, further congestion could be caused and the lives of the millions of commuters in the capital will be worsened, according to the Evening Standard.

In New York, the subway system has been harnessed to make sure that products make it to people within one hour of the order being placed, as part of a scheme which sees Amazon charging around £5.12 for the speediest possible delivery.

Because the surface roads of New York are so congested, taking the subway is the best bet for most couriers looking to meet the sub-60 minute delivery time proclaimed by the retailer.

When questioned about whether the same approach would be taken in the UK using the London Underground, Amazon refused to make a comment. However, given that the retailer already has an agreement with TfL for station-based deliveries, is seems likely that it could get similar approval for its couriers to take the tube where necessary.

Union spokespeople have claimed that the use of the tube for deliveries could result in real problems, as the network may not be able to cope with the influx of couriers with packages, boxes and even trollies full of items destined for delivery. There are also questions over whether a one hour delivery time is even necessary for safe shopping online, in all except the most dire of emergencies.

Amazon’s delivery controversies are stacking up, with this debate joining the potential rollout of drone delivery robots in the next few years.