No more snubbing Bronx residents: Amazon same-day delivery is headed their way

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | May 3, 2016 - 11:59AM

One of the most convenient things about being a New Yorker in the 21st century is that you can have almost everything delivered straight to your door in under 24 hours, especially from the behemoth of near-instant consumer gratification that is Amazon. But one corner of the city has been excluded from Amazon's Prime same-day delivery service: the Bronx.

Last week, Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. issued a letter to Amazon's founder & CEO Jeff Bezos demanding an end to his borough's exclusion from the service, and assembly member Jeffrey Dinowitz urged New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman to investigate what he called inequitable business practices. Late last week, the company announced that they'll begin offering the same-day service to the borough in the coming weeks, at which point, like all other New Yorkers, Amazon Prime subscribers in the Bronx (who pay $99 a year for Prime membership) will be able to order packages in the morning and have them delivered free of charge by 9 pm.

Dinowitz calls it "excellent news." "I think Amazon provides an important service to a lot of people, and I think that they realized it would be a public relations disaster not to do the right thing. Applying pressure often works," he says.

Amazon also recently expanded its same-day delivery services to Roxbury, a predominantly black neighborhood in Boston that was also found to have been excluded, as part of a Bloomberg Businessweek analysis of major cities serviced by Amazon.

While there's no proof that Amazon was purposely leaving out the Bronx and other predominately minority neighborhoods in the 27 cities covered by same-day delivery, "it does reiterate some of the historic lines between neighborhoods," Bloomberg BusinessWeek editor Ellen Pollock said in an interview.

Amazon isn't the first delivery company that was criticized for overlooking the Bronx. In 2012, after 10 years in business, Fresh Direct finally expanded its reach to every corner of the borough. "If you're going to provide a service it's important to give everyone equal access," says Dinowitz.

And food and package delivery is sometimes most necessary in lower income neighborhoods. "There are certain areas that don't have a lot of supermarkets or stores where these alternatives are especially helpful," says Dinowitz. And in places where people are older or infirm and they can't shop, being able to order is that much more important, he adds.

Plus, it just makes business sense. "The Bronx is booming," he adds. "Any smart business would want to include all of the Bronx." 



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