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Explained: How will Uber on WhatsApp work?

Soon, customers in India will be able to book Uber cab rides using WhatsApp. How exactly will this work? Does this mean the Uber app will no longer be required? Will the feature be available across India?

Written by Pranav Mukul , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
December 2, 2021 12:25:51 pm
The service is aimed at expanding access to Uber’s mobility offerings in India. (Reuters Photo: Phil Noble, File)

Uber customers in India will soon be able to book cab rides using WhatsApp, the ride-hailing company announced on Thursday (December 2).

The company’s integration with WhatsApp, the extremely popular messaging app owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), will be a global first, Uber said.

“Uber and WhatsApp announced a partnership today in India, allowing people to book an Uber ride via Uber’s official WhatsApp chatbot… It will make booking an Uber ride as easy as sending a WhatsApp message,” Uber said.

Will this feature be available everywhere in India?

For now, it is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Lucknow. It will be expanded to other Indian cities soon, the company said.

Does this mean you will no longer need the Uber app to book a cab?

Yes. The company has said that with this integration with WhatsApp, 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,” it has said.

So how exactly will this work, then?

If you use WhatsApp, you can book an Uber ride through the app in one of three ways — by messaging to Uber’s business account number; scanning a QR code; or by clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat.

Once you have done this, you will be asked to provide pick-up and drop-off locations. You will receive fare information upfront, and the driver’s expected time of arrival, Uber said.

And what about all the safety features that the Uber app provides?

Riders who use WhatsApp will get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly, the company said.

They will be informed of the name of the driver and licence plate of the driver on booking; they will be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point; and they will be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number, the company said.

WhatsApp is popular everywhere in India, so can the WhatsApp interface for Uber be used in all Indian languages?

As of now, the option to book an Uber ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English, the company has said. However, it has said that the feature will be expanded to other Indian languages soon.

The service is built on WhatsApp’s Business Platform. It is aimed at expanding access to Uber’s mobility offerings in India, which is one of the US-based company’s largest international markets.

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