New Uber Feature: 'Rude' or a Godsend?

Ride-hailing service launches 'Quiet Mode' to keep chatty drivers silent
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2019 8:28 AM CDT
Hate Chatty Uber Drivers? There's Now a Solution
This May 3, 2019, photo shows an Uber driver with his vehicle in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Can't take it when you order an Uber and the driver shares his whole life story on the way to your destination? Starting Thursday, you can mute that TMI. BGR and TechCrunch report on "Quiet Mode," a new feature offered through the ride-hailing service's app that allows customers to select either "quiet preferred," "happy to chat," or "no preference" when arranging for a pickup. The feature is free—but you kind of have to pay for it: The ride-in-silence option is available only to those customers who take advantage of the premium Uber Black and Uber Black SUV options, which now also offer such amenities as customized car temperatures and luggage assistance.

Uber product manager Aydin Ghajar tells Josh Constine at TechCrunch that the quiet option has been a longtime request, though some male readers told Constine they find it "rude" and "dehumanizing." But Constine has been pushing for the idea for months and hopes the company rolls it out soon for its UberX customers as well, noting that "women often feel uncomfortable when male drivers incessantly talk to them, and it can get scary when it turns into unwanted flirtation, considering the driver is in control." Per a release, the new premium options are available in nearly three dozen major cities, with plans to include more areas soon. (This Uber driver is accused of kidnapping two women.)

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