Amazon is looking to hire hundreds of horses and riders to help meet increased demand for deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following reports the company will be hiring 75,000 more workers, Amazon announced this week that it is bringing back the Pony Express to increase their delivery capacity across the western United States.
“My family has been waiting generations for this to happen,” said William Cody Jr., a rancher from Leavenworth, KS. who is supplying Amazon with a string of horses for the venture. “My great-great-great grandad would be so proud.”
In the first weeks, Amazon will use the old route set out in 1860 that started in St. Joseph, MO, and ended in San Francisco, CA. Based on demand and availability of horse and riders, the company will roll out horse-based delivery across more states in the coming weeks.
When making a purchase on the site, Prime members will now be able to choose the ‘Stick and Carrot’ delivery option if their package is under 10 pounds and 20 inches in length. While delivery will be slower than truck, the option does have its pandemic perks—the Pony Express route follows secluded trails, minimizing human contact.
“In many ways, it’s safer than trucking,” said Cody Jr. “You don’t need to stop at gas stations and the riders are only coming into contact with horses. You won’t get any coronavirus from these guys.”
There’s also the entertainment factor of seeing a cowboy deliver your package, Amazon spokesperson Ryder B. Fast told Horse Network:
“People are stuck at home right now as front-line workers continue to risk their health and safety to keep America humming. It’s a nice thing for families to wave out the window at a bona fide cowboy as he delivers whatever trinket they’ve ordered to alleviate their ennui during this time.”
Amazon is considering continuing delivery by horse after the pandemic has ended, added Fast.
“Our only concern is that people care more about animal welfare than humans, so the horses will probably work shorter hours.”