Uber launches hourly auto-rental service in India - first among equals

uber auto rickshaw rides
(Image credit: Uber India)

Close on the heels of Uber announcing a new service where customers in select US cities can hire drivers by the hour, the cab hailing service has come out with a similar scheme in India. The scheme provides passengers with the option of hiring an auto rickshaw for a specific period of time. 

Uber India began the 24x7 auto rickshaw rental service in India from Wednesday that allows riders to book a vehicle and the driver for between one to eight hours at a stretch with the liberty to make multiple stops along the journey, the company said in a prepared statement.

This is how it works

The trips starts for one hour and 10-kms for a price of Rs.149. Passengers have the option of booking an auto rickshaw for a minimum of one or hour ten kilometres in the package. They could also book multiple hourly packages across the cities where Uber operates the auto rickshaw rental services.  

The US-headquartered cab hailing service had launched auto rides in select Indian cities of New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Pune. Following the Covid-19 lockdown, most cities took the cab hailing services off the roads. The services were resumed in May though users continued to be reluctant during the initial period. 

Uber has set some conditions for the auto rickshaw ride. Upon opening the app, a popup lists these out for the user. The select packages cannot be changed once the driver starts the trip and in case of excess time or distance, Uber would charge Rs.9.50 paise per km or Rs.1 per minute. 

Some terms and conditions that pop up in the Uber app when you try to book an Auto Rental. For starters, the selected package cannot be changed once the trip starts. In cases of extra time and distance, you will be charged at Rs. 9.5 per km and Rs. 1 per minute. Auto rickshaw rides can only be confined to the cities. Travel destinations can be altered or changed during the ride, with Rs.35 charged towards a booking fee right upfront. Extras including parking fees and tolls would be borne by the passengers. 

A tried and tested formula

Apparently the hourly option has already been attested in cities across Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, so presumably it will eventually make its way to most or all of Uber's markets. As yet there's no word on pricing internationally.

Uber will be hoping to ramp up ride numbers as countries across the world emerge from self-isolation and lockdown, and has been putting new safety measures in place to protect drivers and passengers. 

Raj Narayan

A media veteran who turned a gadget lover fairly recently. An early adopter of Apple products, Raj has an insatiable curiosity for facts and figures which he puts to use in research. He engages in active sport and retreats to his farm during his spare time.