In a global-first move, ride-hailing major Uber and Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday announced that people in India can now book an Uber ride via the company's official WhatsApp chatbot.
The service is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Lucknow first, and will soon be expanded to other cities in the country.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip. We are thrilled at this global-first integration for Uber, and look forward to rolling it out across India," said Nandini Maheshwari, Senior Director, Business Development, Uber APAC.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.
Currently, the option to book a ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon.
"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," said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
With this integration, riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app.
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 be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations.
Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver's expected time of arrival.
"Riders 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 license plate of the driver on booking; be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number.
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 mins after the trip ends.