Confirming what had been under anticipation for quite some time now, Uber has today officially launched UberAuto, its app-based Auto booking service. India will be the first market where Uber is launching such a service.
Let’s jot down the basics regarding Uber’s new service first.
- Delhi/ India is the first and only market worldwide where Uber has auto rickshaws on the platform
- Global first product option which is cash only. You can only pay for uberAUTO in cash. Uber is not allowing cash payments anywhere else in the world.
The launch of UberAuto marks a couple of firsts for Uber. It is the first time that Uber is launching an auto-booking service, even though these iconic three-wheelers can be spotted in other Asian countries where Uber operates.
Secondly, acknowledging the importance of cash-based transactions in India, Uber, for the first time, is allowing commuters to pay to auto-ricksaw drivers via Cash. What’s strange however, is that Uber will not accept payments via your PayTm wallet. It would have been more convenient if it was left upto the commuter on how they wish to pay. But then, it is quite a possibility that a large number of auto-drivers do not possess a bank account, thus making cash-based transactions more relevant.
The launch of UberAuto has made India’s cab-war even more heated up. Just today, Ola made the news with a $200 Million investment through DST Global. Ola and its recent acquisition TaxiForSure, both already operate auto-booking service through their respective apps.
While competition is obviously a reason why Uber launched UberAUTO, such a launch might help Uber in gaining wider margins from its services. When a user sees four different options (Uber Go, X, Black and Auto) in front with marginal price differences, you can expect more and more commuters to switch to Uber’s Go or X Service, thus bringing in long-term benefits.
The service has started rolling out from today itself and Uber users in Delhi can start booking UberAuto by updating their current uber App.