WhatsApp users can now book Uber rides in India. An official WhatsApp chatbot has been introduced to facilitate this service, and it has been made available in Lucknow first. Currently, it has been rolled out in the English language, but it is likely to be made available in other regional languages as well. The integration is said to be a global-first for Uber and looks to make booking a cab an easy affair. Uber and WhatsApp look to expand this service to other cities soon.
WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride by messaging Uber's business account number; scanning a QR code, or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat. The chatbot will then ask the user to offer pickup and drop off locations and chose the kind of ride they would like to book. The chatbot will offer upfront fare information and will give the driver's expected time of arrival as well.
This option to book an Uber ride via WhatsApp is currently only available in the English language. It is said to expand to other Indian languages soon. WhatsApp also confirms that the service is available to both new and existing users who registered with only one phone number on Uber.
With this integration, riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. From user registration, booking a ride, and getting a trip receipt, all the functions are said to be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface. The company says that riders 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 driver on booking. They will also 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 is said to inform the rider about safety guidelines, including how to reach Uber in case of emergencies. The company says that 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 its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 minutes after the trip ends.
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