Howrah: App-cab aggregator Uber is partnering with Eastern Railways to help passengers book its cars for a ride without using a mobile phone. The first Uber kiosk at Howrah station will open on Monday in the parking zone, which is also the designated pick-up point.
Like at the airport, there will also be a separate parking zone for Uber cabs so that drivers can quickly respond to a booking.
On Friday, Uber deployed personnel at the parking space from 5pm to assist people who might be looking for cabs.
Uber does around 8,000 rides a week from Howrah station, which is low compared to the 20-lakh daily footfall at the country’s busiest railway junction. “There are several modes of transport from Howrah station. We are making ourselves visible here and helping commuters take rides on Uber,” a spokesperson for the company said.
The station has a pre-paid taxi booth. “Many people book their pre-paid taxis online and collect their taxi numbers from the kiosks,” said a traffic officer at Howrah station.
The earlier chaos at the station has been controlled with online pre-paid taxi bookings and the RFID lanes that register all incoming taxis. “Passengers now take a maximum of 10 minutes to find a cab after getting off a train,” the officer said.
An app called “m-taxi” that Howrah police had launched in 2016 wasn’t available on Google Play when this reporter checked.
Personnel at the Uber kiosk in the station’s parking lot will help passengers book cabs from Monday.
Once cabs are booked, passengers will be guided to the pick-up point near the parking lot where an area has been marked for Uber drivers to park their cars.