For years, texting has been the preferred — and sometimes only — method Uber drivers and passengers have used to connect, from confirming the pickup location to notifying passengers their ride has arrived. Now, instead of sending these messages to your text service, the company has created its own in-app messaging service.
Uber announced today that in an attempt to streamline the pickup process and remove the “who’s this texting me?” question many users encounter, it has created an in-app chat feature.
With the new system, passengers can chat with their driver by clicking on the “contact” and “chat” tabs in the Uber feed.
Once the driver receives the message, the app will read the content aloud, and the driver can then acknowledge the message by sending a “thumbs up” emoji to the rider.
While Uber has previously used a system that anonymized users’ and drivers’ phone numbers for texting or calling outside of the app, that system wasn’t always available everywhere Uber operates. This, a rep for the company tells The Verge, spurred the company to create the new system.
Uber says that the in-app chat feature will be rolling out to users and drivers in coming weeks.
“This is our first step towards leveraging real-time-messaging to enable seamless communication experiences for our customers and help them connect in both the digital and physical worlds,” the company says in a blog post.