In June of 2018, Uber announced that it would be rolling out a VoIP calling feature for a select few markets. Now, a little over 6 months after the announcement, Uber rolled out the feature to users in India.
The VoIP feature is a new addition to the app and allows riders and drivers to communicate with one another over a VoIP call. So far, the medium to do so would be either via SMS or cellular calls. This feature is pretty similar to Skype, or WhatsApp Voice calls. A VoIP (voice over IP) call uses the internet connectivity, instead of cellular network connectivity, to make calls.
According to Uber, this feature is aimed at reducing the cost of calls, which was borne by riders and drivers until now.
The way it works is that the user needs to hit the ‘Free Call’ option from the pop-up menu. After this, the app will require you to grant it the permission your device’s microphone. Once provided, your call will be placed to the driver, without leaving the app. An important characteristic is that in order to keep the information about the rider and driver private, the app shows the caller ID as ‘Uber’ instead of displaying a number.
Having said that, the previous methods of contacts, such as SMS, in-app chat, and cellular calls still work despite the addition of VoIP calling. Thus, in case your data connection is weak, you can use the old-fashioned phone call to contact your driver.
Apart from this, Uber also recently announced that users can now pay for Uber rides with their Google Pay accounts (formerly called Tez), JioMoney, Giftcards, Uber credits, credit or debit cards, UPI payments as well as by cash at the end of the trip.