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Uber latest to join the auto brigade

Launches service in Delhi; customers can pay in cash

San Francisco-headquartered taxi-hailing service Uber has followed in the footsteps of rivals Ola and TaxiForSure to launch autorickshaw services, uberAUTO, in Delhi. Customers can pay in cash based on the government-approved metered fare. This is a significant shift from Uber’s cashless payment-based operational model that did not allow cash transactions and money was directly deducted from the passenger’s bank account.

In India, Uber had tied up with wallet service provider paytm recently as it ran into regulatory hurdles over the two-factor authentification mandated by the Reserve Bank of India.

“Autos are an iconic and ubiquitous part of the Delhi landscape and we are excited to have them as another option on the Uber platform. With uberGO, uberX and UberBlack, and now uberAUTO, we’re delivering more choice to our riders and another option for drivers too,” the company said in a statement.

“When it comes to getting around Delhi, auto-rickshaws are a staple. We recognise the history and value of autos to the transportation landscape. For us, uberAUTO is another way of using technology to offer more choice, making life simpler and keep Delhi moving,” the statement added.

According to the company, pricing will follow fare rules set by the Delhi state authorities while the company will not charge the passengers any additional booking fee. However, the passengers will need to have a valid Uber account.

Uber’s rival in India, SoftBank-backed Ola, which recently acquired homegrown competition TaxiForSure, had also rolled out auto services. Ola, however, charges the passengers an additional Rs 10 for every ride. It even rolled out the option of cashless travel using an online payment system.

Going to the movies? Dial Uber
Uber has teamed up with Chennai-based SPI Cinemas to provide the latter’s customers a ride to the cinemas. SPI is the first cinema chain in the world to collaborate with Uber. Formerly known as Satyam Cinemas, it operates a number of multiplexes.

As part of the tie-up, SPI Cinemas will use Uber’s application programme interface to allow customers with an iOS or Android device, who have booked tickets through the SPI Cinemas app, to have the option to request an Uber from within the app to catch the movie. The taxi button will appear once the booking for food and movie is complete. There is also an option to see the estimated cost for the ride and the time it would take for the cab to arrive. (fe bureau, Chennai)

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