Uber Is Finally Letting Riders Opt Out Of Chats With Drivers — But It Costs Extra

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.

Uber Black is a splurge for most. But for a certain group of people — namely, introverts and the small talk-averse — it might become the new normal.

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This week, Uber rolled out a new feature called “Quiet Mode,” which allows Uber Black passengers to opt out of a conversation before the driver even pulls up to their location. According to TechCrunch, this was Uber’s most-requested feature.

As someone prone to horrible motion sickness, if I’m in an Uber, I depend on my friends to talk to our driver if they’re the chatty type. If I’m alone and I see that my assigned driver has the “Good Conversation” icon on their profile, I suffer through the small talk while trying my hardest to focus on the road and not turn green.

The tension between #TeamCovo and #TeamQuiet is a palpable one. On one hand, Uber is hailed as the great unifier, with some users believing that a 15-minute conversation about, say, immigration is the perfect compliment to a ride to the airport. Others just want to get from point A to point B without saying a word.

Riders can now tell prospective drivers whether they are “happy to chat” or if “quiet is preferred.” For those with decision fatigue, there is a “no preference” option as well. But this is one of many new rider preferences Uber Black riders can specify. Other preferences include help with luggage and extended pickup period. Basically, an Uber Black might be something to budget for the next time you’re on holiday.

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