Uber Created A “Quiet Mode” For Riders Who Don’t Want To Talk, And I’m Relieved Because I’m Tired Of Drivers Hitting On Me

May 15, 2019  |  

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Source: DON EMMERT / Getty

“Where are you going tonight? You look pretty. Are you going to see your boyfriend?”

Whenever I get in an Uber and the driver starts asking me these sorts of questions, my blood pressure automatically begins to rise. No matter how convenient and tech savvy Uber is, at the end of the day, I am still a woman, alone in a stranger’s car when I opt into using this service.

When a driver begins to make comments about my appearance or pries into my life beyond a “hello” and “bye”, I become immediately aware of how vulnerable I am as their passenger. It’s awkward to sit in silence, so I often end up giving information about myself that I wouldn’t be comfortable giving under any other circumstance.

Because this is something I’ve experienced frequently as an avid Uber user, learning that Uber was finally offering a “quiet mode” option for passengers who don’t want to talk to their Uber drivers made me breathe a sigh of relief.

“If you need to respond to emails or are in the mood for a nap, make your trip a quieter one with just one tap. If you’re in the mood to chat, that’s an option too,” Uber revealed on its website, detailing the new option. 

Unfortunately, the new “quiet preferred” or “happy to chat” options are only available for Uber Black or Uber Black SUV premium riders. You cannot use this option with Uber X or pool rides, but hopefully that changes soon.

Along with this feature, the app has also added “Premium support” so passengers can chat with live agents on the phone. Normally, troubled passengers have to wait and communicate over text with someone, which can be impersonal and inconvenient.

“Uber Black and Uber Black SUV riders told us they wanted high-quality service and premium comfort. That’s why we’ve improved features and requirements to meet or exceed their expectations on every ride,” the press statement explains.

“We know that when riders choose Uber Black and Uber Black SUV, they want a consistent, high quality experience every time they ride. With these new features and more to come, we’re excited to ensure that our riders can arrive relaxed and refreshed, wherever they’re headed.”

Even though these new settings are being hailed as a way to improve user experience, for me, it’s also a matter of safety as well. Of course, some drivers could decide to violate the “quiet mode” and decide to ask questions and make you uncomfortable anyway, but my hope is that this digital boundary will help me and women like me going forward.

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