Uber to Add Limited Messaging to Its App

Passengers will be able to message drivers, while drivers may only acknowledge messages for safety.

Hemant Mishra/Mint

In busy areas, it can be difficult for Uber drivers to know exactly where to pick up their passengers based solely on an address. It can also be confusing to get a random text or phone call from a number you don't know that's actually your driver trying to find you. Uber has announced that it will soon be adding messaging functions within the Uber app itself to help with this.

When a ride is arranged, passengers will have an option to "chat" with their driver in the app. They may then type whatever they want to say and the message will be delivered to the driver. In addition to appearing on the screen, the message will be read aloud to the driver so they don't have to take their eyes off the road. Drivers will be able to acknowledge these messages with a Facebook-like thumbs-up, but will not be able to type back to passengers, again for safety while on the road. This will assure passengers that their message was received, which text messages don't always do.

This function should help save both drivers and passengers valuable time. Passengers can tell drivers exactly where to pick them up at a large apartment complex or shopping center. They can also warn drivers of local road closures or traffic conditions that they may not be aware of. Drivers won't waste time stuck in traffic or driving around trying to find their pickup. Passengers will get picked up more quickly, and be assured that their messages to drivers actually get through.

Uber may have some issues but it has recently taken a number of steps to improve. This latest feature will likely be welcomed by all users.