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Uber has just solved another small but niggling problem with its service. The transportation company has announced a new chat system, that allows drivers and riders to communicate through the Uber app, sans phone number.
Previously, drivers and riders would require a mobile number and an outside app to converse. This communication also wasn’t standardised, as some drivers preferred messaging rather than phone calls. Number sharing also had security implications too.
But with the new chat feature, Uber riders can message their drivers from within the Uber app itself.
A “Contact” button now opens a Facebook Messenger-like screen which allows riders to update their drivers, which could include further details of their current location, or a particularly noticeable item of clothing they’re wearing.
Riders can message drivers from within the app, drivers can respond with a thumbs up
“When drivers receives [sic] a chat from the rider, it will be read aloud to them,” Uber’s product manager Jeremy Lermitte explains.
“Drivers can acknowledge receipt with one tap to their app to send a ‘thumbs up’ to their rider. That way, they can stay focused on the road. Both riders and drivers will see if their chats are delivered and read, helping to confirm the other actually received the communication.”
This numberless system also makes it easier for travellers to communicate with their drivers, disregarding the need for a local SIM card or number.
“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,” Lermitte notes.
Uber’s in-app chat feature will be rolled out globally in the “coming weeks”.