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Uber introduces new WhatsApp journey booking feature launching in India

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Image credit: Uber

Ride-hailing firm Uber has announced a new WhatsApp booking feature that will give people in India the chance to book a journey via an Uber chatbot instead of the mobile app.

An Uber India SA Comms Team spokesperson said: “No surprises, we are big fans of the Uber app. It has connected millions of riders and drivers over the last eight years in India, and will continue to do so for years to come. But we also recognise that to keep expanding access to our services, we need to meet people where they are. And in India, that means WhatsApp.

“So, starting this week, we are rolling out a new service that gives people the option to book an Uber ride via an official Uber WhatsApp chatbot. Riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. Everything from user registration, booking a ride, and getting a trip receipt will be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface.

“The integration, a global-first for Uber, is rolling out first in Lucknow. We will then introduce it to users in New Delhi, and look forward to going India-wide next year.”

How will it work?

WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride three ways: messaging to Uber’s business account number; scanning a QR code; or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat. They will then be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations. Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver’s expected time of arrival. The global ride-hailing firm says passengers will get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly. They will be informed of the name of the driver and licence plate of the driver on booking; be able to track the location of the driver enroute to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number.

The WhatsApp chat flow will inform the rider about safety guidelines, including how to reach Uber in case of emergencies (type help on-trip). If the user selects the “emergency” option while on the trip, they will receive an inbound call from Uber’s customer support team. Uber riders will also have access to the safety line numbers to call the Uber team, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends.

Drivers on Uber’s platform, however, will see no change in their experience with rides booked via WhatsApp. Currently, this option to book a ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English language but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon. Additionally, the service is available to both new and existing users who registered with only a phone number on Uber.


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