Uber is finally rolling out a feature to allow riders to decide how chatty they want their drivers to be, enabling even the socially awkward to dodge conversations about Brexit, the weather, or the football scores.
How is Uber aiming to disrupt the regular human communication that happens when a few humans get into a car together? A toggle for Uber’s new “Quiet Mode” will let you decide whether you want a ride with “quiet preferred” or if you’re “happy to chat”.
The feature rolls out across the US tomorrow for everyone using the Uber Black and Uber Black SUV premium rides, and is great if you’re willing to pay a little more for the benefit of your driver knowing your conversational preferences ahead of getting into the car but in my very occasional Uber experience, most drivers pick up the vibe and be quieter.
However, outside of letting you escape any awkward Brexit chat with your Uber driver, there’s a lot of reasons to be excited about the Rider Preferences panel coming to the UK: riders will also be able to say that they have luggage with them so that the driver can assist them with their bags, while a temperature control can let you request a toasty car, or even some cranked-up air conditioning.
There’s a catch though. Uber Black rides in the US are often twice the price of the entry level UberX rides, so users could be dropping a lot of extra cash for the benefit of having the heating on and your driver silent.
The feature could be invaluable for some riders however. While it’s easy for me as a six foot seven bloke (201cm for those of you using real measurements) to say I just ask my driver for quiet, for many female or non-binary riders that would like to ride with a little more peace of mind. For everyone else, it seems easier than having to actually deal with human contact if you want to respond to a few emails or watch the world go by out of your window. Uber’s new mode will stop awkward brexit conversations