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Uber’s in-app phone support will connect drivers to a real-life human being

One of the biggest issues Uber drivers are vocal about is not being able to talk to a company representative about any given problem. It seems like Uber is listening, because the company announced it would be testing an in-app hotline for drivers in the Bay Area, according to SF Gate.

Initially, a small percentage of Bay Area drivers will be included in the trial, with the trial eventually spreading throughout the San Francisco area and lasting two months. Sitting in the Uber app’s Help section, the calling function is represented by a phone icon. Drivers are then given a list of options to pick from, such as pressing 1 for problems with payments, 2 for issues with a trip, 3 for reporting items left behind by passengers, and 4 for any other issue. In addition, pressing 9 will allow drivers to report any critical safety issues.

Uber’s goal is to answer 90 percent of these calls within a minute, with the company wanting to first evaluate how efficient the in-app hotline is before rolling out the feature to other drivers around the world. Currently, the Uber app offers self-service options, such as frequently asked questions, though there is a way to contact representatives.

Further streamlining driver and rider support, Uber’s in-app phone support will come as a welcome reprieve to those who found the company’s now-defunct email support system pretty frustrating.

“Since then I have been emailing support to get my account active again and every time I get a canned reply from different reps,” Uber driver Garen Karanyan told The Verge. Karanyan is currently deactivated due to him canceling too many rides. “I would email Adrian and will get a reply from Eugene saying that he stepped in for Adrian. I would email Eugene and Angel would reply saying that he stepped in for Eugene, so on and so on.”

Phone support isn’t the only thing drivers have been vocal about as of late, however, with drivers hitting Uber with class-action lawsuits for them to be considered employees instead of contractors. The ride-sharing service agreed to settlements, scheduled for review on June 2, totaling $100 million, though drivers will still be considered contractors. As such, they will not receive benefits, such as workman’s compensation and mileage expense compensation, that are typically reserved for employees.