Uber, the ride-hailing giant, has announced that users in India do not necessarily need to download its app before they can order rides. This is because Uber has added a feature that will allow its users to book rides via its Uber WhatsApp Chatbot. This move to book via WhatsApp was announced in a blog post.

The ride-hailing service said: “So, starting this week, we are rolling out a new service that gives people the option to book a ride via an official Uber WhatsApp chatbot. Riders will no longer need to download or use the app. Everything from user registration, booking a ride, and getting a trip receipt will be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface. 

According to the ride-hailing ser, the new feature will first be rolled out in Lucknow, then New Delhi, and the whole of India next year.

WhatsApp users can book a ride through either messaging to the company’s business account number, scanning a barcode, or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat. They will then be asked to provide pickup and drop-off locations. Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver’s expected time of arrival.

Riders will get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the app directly, the company said. The WhatsApp chat flow will inform the user about safety guidelines, including how to contact Uber in case of emergencies.

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

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