Uber Technologies Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc.’s WhatsApp have rolled out ride-booking via messaging service in India, a first of its kind for the US ride-hailing giant and expansion of capabilities of WhatsApp in the country.
Uber said in a statement that the partnership provides access to Uber's mobility services by sending a message to the WhatsApp chatbot, serving the northern city of Lucknow to start and expand to more locations in the near future.
The move follows the launch of grocery shopping on the WhatsApp app on JioMart, the digital outlet of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail empire. The Meta-owned messaging service has more than half a billion users in India, its largest single user base.
"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 that they feel comfortable with," said Nandini Maheshwari, Uber's senior director of business development. The integration makes Uber's private app unnecessary: WhatsApp users can register, book rides, and receive ride receipts entirely within the chat interface.
Safety features and insurance protections are unchanged between rides booked on Uber or WhatsApp. The driver's name, license plate, and location en route to pickup will be included in the WhatsApp booking information. Drivers themselves will notice no difference between rides booked on different platforms.
Uber said that booking a ride through WhatsApp only starts in English, but will soon expand to other Indian languages.
Also Read: PB Fintech arm invests Rs 10.8 cr more in Visit Health, holds minority stake