Uber has rolled out its second India-specific feature in a week – the ability to Request a Ride for Others, specifically meant for regular users to help those who don’t have the app installed or an account registered.
To recall, earlier this week, Uber had rolled out the Dial an Uber feature that allowed users in India to access the company’s ride-hailing services in select cities without requiring the app – instead, they can use a mobile site for the purpose. Besides the fact it was first launched in India, the feature is evidently aimed at emerging markets where a large percentage of users are expected to sport budget smartphones with low amounts of inbuilt storage, expensive data plans, and lack of widespread mobile data connectivity.
Explaining the need for the Request a Ride for Others feature, Uber in a press statement said, “Often people who need reliable rides the most, such as the elderly, don’t have smartphones or have never downloaded an app. ‘Request a Ride for Others’ empowers current Uber users across all cities in India to book a ride on behalf of their family and friends, so more people can get access to reliable transportation.”
To use the Request a Ride for Others feature, users will need to have the latest version of the Uber app installed on their smartphones. They can then set a pin, or manually enter the pickup location of the person they are requesting the ride for. They will then be prompted to choose who the ride is for, and can either select a contact from their phonebook, or enter a phone number. Users can then choose payment method, enabling the rider to pay with cash at the destination or pay for the rider themselves electronically.
The rider will then receive two SMS messages, one with the driver and car information, and the other with a link to track the ride. The driver will be given the rider’s phone number to coordinate the pickup. Uber users will be able to track the ride from within the app.
What do you think of Uber’s new India-specific features? Will they indeed help, or are they just publicity gimmicks? Share your views in the comments section below.