The Uber app will now let riders and drivers communicate with each other before a pick-up, thanks to a new chat feature built into the app.
Users who request a ride and get a driver will now be able to tap the “contact” and then “chat” option within the app to send a message to their driver.
On the driver’s side, these will be read aloud when received, and they can then acknowledge they’ve seen the message with a single tap to send a “thumbs up”.
Uber says this enables them to stay focused on the road.
“Every great ride starts with the pick-up,” Uber’s Jeremy Lermitte wrote in a blog post on the new feature.
“So we’re always thinking about ways to make the pickup experience as frictionless as possible for riders and drivers alike.
“That includes helping riders and drivers connect should they need to get in touch with one another to solve for things like road closures, or to just provide information on their exact location.
“Riders and drivers can contact one another using their apps outside Uber. But these texts can sometimes lack context – is this random number my driver? How do I know if my driver received my SMS message?
“Today, we’re adding a way for riders and drivers to chat right in the Uber app. It’s now easier than ever to get in touch.”
Uber said the new chat feature will begin to roll out to app users globally in the coming weeks, and called it the “first step” towards leveraging real time messaging to help drivers and rider better communicate.