Amid political criticism, Amazon announced Tuesday that it will soon bring same-day delivery to Roxbury, the only neighborhood in the city without access to the service.
The announcement came days after reports of Roxbury’s exclusion drew public pushback, and within hours of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh saying he’d had no luck in convincing Amazon to expand into the neighborhood.
But on Tuesday afternoon, spokesman Scott Stanzel said the same-day delivery will be available in Roxbury “in the coming weeks.”
“We are always looking to expand the benefits our Prime members receive and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Stanzel said in a statement. “We are actively working with our local carrier to enable service to the Roxbury neighborhood in the coming weeks. Once completed, Prime members in every zip code in Boston, including the Roxbury neighborhood, will receive Prime Free Same-Day Delivery, in addition to existing Free Two-Day and One-Day shipping options.”
Less than three hours earlier, Walsh issued a critical statement saying he had been in touch with Amazon about bringing the service to Roxbury, but to no avail.
“We have been working with Amazon to show them that their current map of Boston leaves a hole right in the heart of our city, but it is clear they are not willing to change their policy,” Walsh said. “We understand that the people who run Amazon don’t live here and might not understand our great neighborhoods, but this is an egregious mistake that must be changed. We will continue to push for inclusivity for the residents of Boston and we hope that Amazon realizes that this form of business is not good business.”
Walsh spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said Amazon executives contacted the mayor following his statement.
“After speaking personally with the executives at Amazon, the company informed me today that they will now be offering same day service to every neighborhood in Boston. I thank Amazon for this decision, and look forward to its implementation,” Walsh said in a second statement, issued after the company’s change in course.
Shortly before Amazon’s announcement, Sen. Ed Markey sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking whether Amazon would bring the service to Roxbury.
Bloomberg last week reported that some minority neighborhoods in cities across the country that do not have access to the same-day delivery service, available to Amazon Prime members for free on orders of $35 or more.
In a delivery-area map, Roxbury looked like it had been hole-punched out of Boston. Its exclusion drove comparisons to racist redlining policies. Amazon held that its delivery decisions are based on data, such as the density of Prime subscribers in a given area, partnerships with carriers, and the distance warehouses.
— Daniel Moskowitz (@danmoskowitz) April 21, 2016
Before the company’s decision to expand service into Roxbury, an Amazon spokesman told Bloomberg that the neighborhood’s situation was an “anomaly.”