After hiatus, Uber to relaunch auto services in Bengaluru, Pune

Cab-hailing firm Uber is following in the footsteps of arch rival in India Ola by introducing an auto-rickshaw service this month, starting with Bengaluru and Pune.

Almost two years after shutting down its auto service in March 2016, the US firm will allow customers to book rides through an 'auto' option on its platform in these two cities.

Ola had launched a similar offering in Bengaluru and Chennai in 2014. Since then, it has started these operations in 73 cities and has over 120,000 autos associated with it.

''Autorickshaws are ubiquitous to mobility options in many Indian cities. To expand transportation choices for our riders, we are excited to launch uberAUTO in Bengaluru and Pune,'' a spokesperson said.

In its previous avatar, Uber's auto offering was available in New Delhi, Coimbatore, Indore and Bhubaneswar.

''We are relaunching uberAUTO starting with two cities. Gradual geographical expansion like this is common to how we operate in cities around the world and it is something that we are looking at very closely,'' the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that uberAUTO would include all safety features available for Uber cab rides and riders would be able to pay via cash, Paytm and debit/credit cards.

Uber would only put licensed, existing auto-drivers on board, who have been screened and accredited by the authorities and every driver partner on uberAUTO would be required to submit valid government documents before they are given access to the Uber app, the spokesperson said.