Merchant Innovation

Amazon Looks To Mass Transit For Package Pickup

Can’t be at home to receive your Amazon delivery? Soon you might be able to pick it up on the crosstown bus.

That’s the theory that GeekWire has sussed out, anyway, based on an Amazon patent application that was submitted in February 2014 but made public just yesterday (Aug. 13) by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“Mobile Pickup Locations,” as the patent application is titled — with Kushal Mukesh Bhatt cited as its inventor — outlines (among other details) the ability for a user to have a parcel delivered to “a vehicle such as a public bus,” as well as the option for that means of transport to be utilized to deliver items “in regions where carriers for delivering items are rare or prohibitively expensive … such as to a rural village.”

The application includes the notion that — in either such case — the person awaiting delivery of a package via a mobile pickup location could track the shipment using GPS and receive text message communications about the mobile location’s status.

As the language in the patent does not exclusively restrict the concept to buses, GeekWire expounds on the potential for Amazon to link the (still theoretical) service to any and all means of public transportation, including trains and subways. The outlet points out that such applications would differ from Amazon’s current method of using New York subways to expedite shipping speed for Prime Now deliveries, as parcels in that regard are accompanied by delivery personnel.

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