- At first, the novelty is restricted to four cities in the state of São Paulo;
- For now, trips ordered via WhatsApp are paid only in cash.
Brazilian ride-hailing app 99, owned by the Chinese Didi Chuxing, now allows calling for a trip through WhatsApp. On its LinkedIn page, the firm said that it aims to reach Brazilians that use cell phones with low storage capacity, and those who have difficulty adapting to the usability of each new application that is installed. “But those same millions use WhatsApp every day to communicate. And they also have the right to access affordable and safe transportation when they need it.”
Livia Pozzi, ride-hailing operations director at 99, stated that “it is a way to avoid friction and allow access to the service for a larger universe since people will no longer need to download our app to order the races”, comments Pozzi.
At first, the novelty is restricted to four cities in the state of Sao Paulo (Sao Carlos, Araraquara, Bauru, and Presidente Prudente), but it will be gradually extended in the coming weeks and may be available throughout the country by the end of 2020, as Pozzi has told Reuters.
Trips ordered via WhatsApp can only be paid in cash (the main payment method at 99, with about 70% orders placed in cash). Later, the messaging app will be able to use its WhatsApp Pay arm to allow card payments.