Cargo: Ride-hailing for riders with the munchies

WASHINGTON — A new service for ride-hailing drivers, such as Uber and Lyft, just launched in the D.C. and Baltimore markets: in-car vending machines.

Cargo-equipped cars let passengers order a wide range of products — everything from Altoids to Cheez-Its to hangover cures. Riders choose items from a Cargo menu on their smartphone, then use their phone to pay for their purchases.

The driver then retrieves the items from the display case mounted between the front seats and hands it to the rider.

Cargo drivers also earn a commission on every passenger transaction. It claims drivers can earn up to $500 more per month in commissions, referrals and performance bonuses.

Cargo initially launched in New York, Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis. The company said D.C. and Baltimore are the next steps in its nationwide expansion plan for 2018.

Other products available through Cargo include Korean face masks and all-natural protein bars, other snacks, premium electronics, cosmetics and personal care items, “delighting passengers during an otherwise idle ride,” the company said.

Cargo recently raised $5.5 million in venture funding to scale operations across the U.S. It expects to reach more than 25 million passengers across 20,000 vehicles in 2018.

“For drivers, it’s an easy decision: Cargo costs nothing, we pre-pack each Cargo kit, ship replenishments to your home, deposit money directly into your bank account and improve your ratings,” said Cargo CEO and founder Jeffrey Cripe.

“For passengers, you never have to worry about your phone dying, riding hung over, or suffering through that snack-less midnight ride from the airport,” he said.

Here’s a video showing how Cargo works:

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up