Uber riders, your prayers have finally been answered. Instead of calling your driver and getting no response — or thrashing through a sea of other people looking for their Uber — the company is finally bringing a chat feature to the app. Now, before your ride arrives, you can message your driver a specific location or let them know how to spot you among the crowd . . . all without exiting the app.
The new feature will start rolling out in the next few weeks to both Android and iOS devices and should make life a little bit easier and safer for both the rider and driver. And don’t worry, it won’t increase distractions for the driver, as any message a rider sends will be read aloud (at least in the US). Then, the driver can choose to send a “thumbs up” to acknowledge they saw the message. Since this is an in-app feature, it also means both you and the driver won’t need to share any contact information. Currently, Uber does generate a “unique, anonymous local number,” if you need to call your driver, which furthers the separation between the two of you.
Plus, though some people aren’t fans of read receipts, the feature will show to both riders and drivers whether or not the other person has seen — and read — the chat. This way, you’ll know if you need to follow up again or keep your cool.
It might feel like an unnecessary feature, but it eliminates the extra step of calling your driver or wondering if you should pick up the call from an unknown number. Uber’s already considering trying this feature out for other purposes. “We’re exploring adding this feature to UberEATs, too,” Jeremy Lermitte, a product manager at Uber told POPSUGAR.
Be warned, though, that this new feature does mean you might be forced to overhear messages from your Uber driver’s next rider during your own journey. And keep in mind you can only use this feature before you get in the car — once you’re marked as picked up, the feature “turns off.” That means this new update won’t be useful if you find that you’ve left your favorite sweatshirt or lipstick in the car. Lermitte did share with us, however, that the company is “thinking about how to expand the in-app chat feature to more areas of the Uber experience.”
To use the chat feature, request a ride, go to the Uber feed, tap “Contact,” and pick “Chat.” Then, send your message away. Ahead, see more images of how chatting on the Uber app actually works.