If your personal hell is small-talking through an Uber ride, this new feature is for you
We've all been there. Your Uber driver rolls up, hits you with the "what's your name" and "where you from?" and simply won't stop talking. You try to be polite about it, trailing off into silence here and there after making small talk, but they just keep going. Luckily, Uber's got the perfect solution for a potentially awkward situation – but only for those who order Uber Black or Uber Black SUV premium rides. Starting today, Uber Black Quiet Mode debuts along with a range of other rider preference settings.
There's nothing wrong with being chatty, of course. Sometimes, a friendly chat is just what the doctor ordered. But when you're settling in for an Uber ride with a stranger, whether for a short or a long trip, sometimes you just want to sit there and revel in the silence.
Uber's Quiet Mode is meant as a way to let your potential driver know that you'd much rather sit in silence than gab about your day or the latest episode of 'Game of Thrones.' When you set up your ride, you can choose "quiet preferred" to indicate to your ride that you're not going to be much of a Chatty Cathy.
If you do feel like tittering away about the latest pop culture developments ("Have you heard that new Lizzo banger?") you can always set the slider to "happy to chat" instead. And if you'd rather roll the dice and just see what your driver is like when they get there, you can leave the option on "no preference."
These are all part of the Uber app's new Rider Preferences that can be altered before you hail your Uber Black or SUV. Unfortunately, you can't change them while the ride is in progress — the driver has to know what you're expecting out of them, after all. Other parts of this new addition to the app include the ability to signal, with the Bags option, that you'd like assistance with luggage. The Temperature option even lets you inform your driver how hot or cold you'd like the car to be before you get in.
For many, getting into an Uber is a difficult decision to make as it is, considering you're handing over your life to a stranger in control of a car. For those with social anxiety (or anyone, even) it can be scary to speak up and let your driver know you'd like the car to be warmer or cooler, or that you'd rather not talk at the moment. Leaving the controls on the app and not requiring the passenger to speak up is a great move — as long as the driver is amenable to the requests.
The service has only been rolled out for Uber's premium options so far, which means you'll have to pay extra for the privilege of asking your driver to zip their lips. And unfortunately, premium rides can end up costing around double the price of a typical Uber. Hopefully, if the suite of passenger features takes off, Uber will think about offering them to all passengers – not just the ones willing to pay more for a request that any ride-share driver should be willing to honor, no questions asked.