Online cab-hailing company Uber will allow passengers in Delhi to book autorickshaws, as part of a drive to boost its presence and compete with a local rival in one of its key markets.
Under the uberAUTO service, the company will not charge a fee for booking autorickshaws, users will be allowed to pay for the journey in cash, and the pricing will follow government fare rules, Uber said in a statement on Thursday.
UberAuto works much like the company’s other offerings: Users simply select it from the app’s menu to request a ride. Notably, the new service marks the first time Uber has allowed cash payments. Those who request rides via UberAuto pay their driver in cash after arriving at a destination, and fares for the service will be based on metered rates set by the local government, according to Uber.
“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,” Uber wrote in a blog post announcing the new service. “We recognise the history and value of autos to the transportation landscape.”
Currently, UberAuto is only available in Delhi, and it’s not clear if the company plans to expand the auto rickshaw service to other cities in India where it operates.
Uber isn’t the only ride-hailing service trying to win over users in India, and it faces competition from local taxi startups such as Ola, which operates a similar business across dozens of Indian cities.
The launch of the service in New Delhi marks a shift from the company’s global business model. So far, Uber’s mobile application that connects riders with taxis in cities around