Uber to let people book rides via WhatsApp

Uber to let people book rides via WhatsApp

The ride hailing giant Uber will allow people to book a ride via WhatsApp in a first-of-its-kind global initiative. The integration will make booking an Uber ride as easy as sending a WhatsApp message.

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

We want to make it easy for all Indians to take an Uber trip, and to do that we need to meet them on platforms they are comfortable with. We have a partnership with WhatsApp to give riders a new way to get a ride through a simple, familiar and trusted channel. "We are thrilled at this first global integration for Uber, and we look forward to rolling it out across India," said Nandini Maheshwari, Sr. Director, Business Development, Uber APAC.

With this integration, riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. User registration, booking a ride, and getting a trip receipt will be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface. They will be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations. Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver's expected time of arrival.

The WhatsApp Business Platform is an important lever for businesses to build a direct connection with their consumers. The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar and relatable for users, and could speed up the adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India. Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said that they were excited about the potential of the partnership and look forward to creating more such customised solutions for products and services across sectors in India.

Uber claims that riders will get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the app directly. They will be informed of the driver's name and license plate of the driver on the booking, be able to track the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number, according to a company statement.

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 have access to the safety line number, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends.

This option to book a ride on WhatsApp will only be available in English language, but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon. The service is available to both new and existing users who have a phone number on Uber.