Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists to the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.
Pulling up the card with the driver's details will now offer the option to contact them, tapping on which will open up a message thread. The text will be read aloud so they won't have to risk playing with the phone while driving, and a 'thumbs up' response can be sent with a single tap to safely acknowledge the message's receipt. The driver can also be the first to send a message, but their app will strongly advise them only to do so while stationary. It seems the devs have thought of everything with this one.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Uber Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte said the feature was introduced because in certain markets drivers and customers don't have unlimited SMS or calls included in their plans, which creates a cost issue. Furthermore, sharing contact details presents security concerns, particularly in certain regions. SMS integration simply isn't possible in some areas either, so a more ubiquitous solution needed to be found.
Another positive is that because the in-app messaging only requires an internet connection, international travelers without affordable roaming plans will only need to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot to communicate with their driver. VoIP calls could come to the app next, and messaging could also be added to UberEATS. The global rollout of the new chat feature has begun, so it should reach everyone in the next few days.