Uber the global taxi aggregator, launched four new features in India to entice users. The features include a website version of Uber, request to book rides for a guest, offline search for those with limited connectivity and a call to ride feature.
The new features aim at making the taxi booking process easy and hassle free. The call to ride feature will allow riders to book rides through a phone call across popular zones in the city. The company is piloting a single nationwide phone number for users to book rides along with numeric codes for specific locations. The offline search feature is aimed at helping riders in limited network areas by caching the top points of interests in the city. The company also launched Uber lite web for riders using feature phones or smartphones not compatible with the latest Uber app. The website, m.uber.com, works exactly like the app after the users have logged into their accounts. The fourth feature ‘Request For A Guest Ride’ will allow riders to book cabs for anyone, anywhere. A user can book rides for friends and family members within the same city or in a different city in India by simply tapping “where to” and then choose who is riding above their pick up location.
According to the Vice President of Products, Daniel Graf, in countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia, three fourths of the riders use smartphones to book rides. “As a part of our efforts to enable global access to Uber, we are focusing on two key areas; building solutions for those who don’t have access to the Uber app and enabling our existing rider app to work better in emerging markets,” he added. At present, the new features are India specific but can be applied globally as well. Speaking about the new features, Garf added, “This is a global announcement and all our innovations touch the Indian and global markets. We introduced cash payments in India for the first time and that innovation has now been rolled out in half of Uber’s global markets.”
India is also the second largest market for Uber, operating in 29 cities and partnered with around 450,000 drivers. Recently, the company also launched a second engineering facility in Hyderabad, which would be working on innovations that can be applied to Indian as well as other global markets. The Indian team also played a key role in developing the pieces of innovation. The startup, which facilitates 10 million trips per day, has a team of more than 150 engineers at its Bengaluru and Hyderabad centers.
All four of the new services will be rolled out in a few weeks.