On Thursday, ride-hailing service Uber announced plans to release a new feature that’ll allow Indian users to be able to book Uber rides through instant messaging platform WhatsApp. “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”, the ride-hailing platform informed users via a blog post.
What this means is that “riders will no longer need to download or use the ride-hailing app. Everything from user registration, booking a ride, and getting a trip receipt will be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface”, Uber explained. According to the company, using Uber-WhatsApp to book rides promises to be safe, convenient, seamless and reliable. The company says that WhatsApp users can book Uber rides via options such as messaging Uber’s business account number, scanning a barcode or clicking a link that’ll send them to Uber’s WhatsApp chat. The company also added that users can rest assured of the same service, safety features and insurance protections that can be accessed by booking directly on the Uber app.
The American ride-hailing company also announced that the feature will be launched in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh which is India’s most popular state, at first and will eventually be available in other Indian locations by next year. Users will also not have to worry about language barriers, Uber said. The service will be available for users in English at first but Indian languages will be included as soon as possible.
The decision to allow people to book rides using their WhatsApp platform will give Uber access to WhatsApp’s platform of over 500 million Indian WhatsApp users, which is good for business. This will open the ride-hailing service to more users since the booking process is super convenient and will give it an edge over other rivals.
Uber has been operational in India for at least eight years and have contributed socially by providing jobs and has always promised users comfortable rides. Uber is available in over 900 metropolitan areas worldwide. Its services include ride-hailing, food delivery, package delivery, couriers, freight transportation, electric bicycle and motorized scooter rental through a partnership with Lime and ferry transport in partnership with local operators.