afaqs! news bureau

Book an Uber ride on WhatsApp now

A global-first for Uber, riders can now book rides from the cab-hailing platform’s official WhatsApp chatbot.

Uber and WhatsApp are currently testing a new feature in Lucknow that will change the way people book cabs. The new partnership will allow people to book an Uber ride through the cab-hailing platform’s official WhatsApp chatbot. The integration is a global-first for Uber and will make booking an Uber ride as easy as sending a WhatsApp message.

Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber’s mobility services in one of the company’s largest international markets. It is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Lucknow first, and will be expanded to other Indian cities soon.

Nandini Maheshwari, senior director, business development, Uber APAC, said, "We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip and, to do that, we need to meet them on platforms they are comfortable with. Our partnership with WhatsApp does just that, giving the riders a new way to get a ride through a simple, familiar and trusted channel. We are thrilled at this global-first integration for Uber, and look forward to rolling it out across India.”

Abhijit Bose, head of WhatsApp India, added, “The WhatsApp Business Platform has been an important lever for businesses that want to build a direct connect with their consumers. The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar and relatable for users, and has the potential to accelerate adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India. We are excited about the potential of this partnership, and look forward to creating more such customised solutions for products and services across sectors in India.”

With this integration, 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.

WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride through three simple 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.

Riders 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 license plate of the car on booking. They will also be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and 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. If the users select 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 its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 minutes 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 will only be available in English, but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon. Additionally, the service will be available to both new and existing users, who are registered with only a phone number on Uber.

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