Uber will allow users to book rides via WhatsApp in India

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An employee works at the offices of the American online taxi company Uber, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, April 24, 2015. REUTERS / Anindito Mukherjee / File Photo

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BENGALURU, Dec. 2 (Reuters) – U.S. ridesharing company Uber Technologies Ltd (UBER.N) announced on Thursday that it will roll out a feature that will allow Indian users to book rides through the WhatsApp messaging service.

The move could help Uber tap into India’s base of more than 500 million WhatsApp users owned by Meta Platforms (FB.O).

“Starting this week, we’re rolling out a new service that gives people the ability to book an Uber ride through an official Uber WhatsApp chatbot,” Uber said in a blog post.

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Uber has been operating in the Asian country for eight years and is now available in 100 cities.

“Passengers will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. Everything from user registration to booking a ride and obtaining a travel receipt will be handled. in the WhatsApp chat interface, ”Uber added.

WhatsApp users can book a ride by messaging Uber’s work account number, scanning a barcode, or directly clicking a link to open an Uber WhatsApp chat.

Passengers will enjoy the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book travel directly through the Uber app, the company said. The WhatsApp chat flow will notify the user of safety guidelines, including how to contact Uber in an emergency.

The feature will initially launch in Lucknow, the capital of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, and then expand to other locations by next year.

The service will be available in English, Uber said, adding that Indian languages ​​will be included in the near future.

(This story corrects paragraph 4 to say that Uber is operational in 100 cities, not 70)

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Report by Rama Venkat in Bangalore; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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