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Amazon is calling an Uber for Prime Now orders in Singapore

The e-commerce giant couldn’t cope with demand for its Prime Now service, so it’s getting cabbies, Uber and Grab drivers in to help.


To cope with overwhelming demand in Singapore, Amazon is getting more drivers to help deliver goods.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon's Prime Now launched in Singapore last week, and the demand has been tremendous. Maybe a little too tremendous. 

To make good on its two-hour delivery promise to every customer, Amazon is roping in cabbies and private-hire car drivers to make deliveries, Singaporean publication Today reported Tuesday.

Launched in the US in 2014, Amazon Prime Now has expanded to nine countries across Asia, Europe and the UK. The service boasts speedy deliveries (under two hours) and tens of thousands of items are listed on its platform. The Prime Now facility in Singapore, unveiled at its launch on Thursday, is the largest in the world.

When Amazon launched its Prime Now service in Singapore, the flood of orders that went through crippled the service for a couple of days. Although the problem has largely been solved, Amazon is still struggling to keep up with demand, thus the assisting cab drivers.

While it's likely a temporary solution, it could get Amazon and the drivers in trouble with local laws.

"Under our regulations, taxis and private-hire cars are meant to carry passengers for hire and reward, and cannot be used solely for the conveyance of goods," Singapore's Land Transport Authority told local media The Straits Times. "However, passengers who hire a taxi or a private-hire car are allowed to carry goods with them."

Amazon was contacted for comment but did not immediately respond. 

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