Uber Launches Autorickshaw Service For New Delhi Commuters

Apr 11, 2015 10:08 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Uber has unveiled a new service in India's capital that will allow passengers to book three-wheeled autorickshaws to try increasing its presence in one of its biggest markets.

Autorickshaws are so popular in India, customers will have to pay in cash, Uber Delhi said on its Twitter account.

Under the uberAUTO service, the ride-hailing company won't charge a booking fee for the autorickshaws and pricing will follow local government fare rules.

The service is a big shift from Uber's global cashless-business model. Customers are usually billed through a local online-payment service, called Paytm, or credit cards.

Uber users in New Delhi will still be charged by the meter, which is good news for locals who are used to bargaining over fares with autorickshaw drivers who don't use meters, according to The Wall-Street Journal.

The company hasn't said how many drivers will participate in the new service, though thousands of people rely on the green-and-yellow rickshaws every day.

"When it comes to getting around Delhi, auto-rickshaws are a staple. We recognize the history and value of autos to the transportation landscape," Uber said in a company blog post. "For us, uberAUTO is another way of using technology to offer more choice, making life simpler and keep Delhi moving."

India's biggest online ride-hailing service, Ola and Uber rival ANI Technologies already offer autorickshaws in New Delhi. OlaAuto is available in six different Indian cities, and last month passengers were given the option to pay for their ride in cash.

Ola charges a 10 rupees (16 cent) convenience charge on top of the meter fare however, according to its website.

Uber has had its issues with India the past year or so. In late 2014, India ordered all unregistered web-based taxi-hailing companies to stop operations until they obtained an operating license after a driver contracted with Uber was accused of raping a passenger.

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