Drivers in Sydney and Melbourne can now sign up to deliver packages for Amazon under the US giants’ gig economy-style courier service. 

Amazon is bolstering its local delivery services by launching Amazon Flex in Sydney and Melbourne, which allows drivers to select when they would like to work and use their own vehicles to deliver packages from Amazon’s distribution centres to its customers. 

According to the AFR Amazon currently relies on four carriers — Australia Post, Toll, Fastway and Ceva– to deliver its packages. Rather than replace these services Amazon Flex will allow the company to expand its delivery network, ramp up at peak times to get packages to customers in a shorter time frame. 

The service operates via the Amazon Flex app. Drivers download the app, sign up and complete the background verification process and they are then ready to accept delivery blocks. 

Delivery blocks are an estimated four hours and drivers will know the estimated duration and minimum payment for each block in advance, and will receive payments weekly by direct deposit, the company said. 

Like Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon Flex has been scrutinised by the media in the US for hourly pay rates and the pressure put on workers to deliver packages within a certain timeframe. 

“We are always looking at new ways to deliver convenience to customers. As customer demand and delivery needs continue to grow in Australia, Amazon Flex gives us the agility to supplement the work we do with our existing carrier partners so we can speed up delivery times and respond to peaks in demand,” said Craig Fuller, Director of Operations, Amazon Australia. 

“At Amazon we work backwards from the customer and, with our team of innovators, Amazon Flex gives us the flexibility over time to unlock customer delivery benefits we haven’t even thought of yet.”

Flex is the latest in a long line of services which Amazon has launched since arriving in Australia in December 2017, including Prime, Fulfilment by Amazon and most recently Amazon Hub, a network of parcel pick-up locations within Australian retail centres. 

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