Quiet please! Uber offers a silent mode so you don’t have to chat

There are all sorts of reasons why you might not want to chat with your driver during a ridesharing trip. You might have some important work to get done, or perhaps you want to immerse yourself in your social feeds. Maybe you’d like to wallow in your own thoughts for a while, or simply avoid having to listen to the driver spouting opinions on matters of little interest. Of course, it could also be that you’re not the chatty type.

For riders using Uber Black — the ridesharing company’s premium service — there’s now an easy way to let your driver know that you’d like to skip the chinwag and focus on your own thoughts instead. You’ll find it in the ride preferences section of the app under Conversation. Select “quiet preferred” and it should ensure that during your encounter the driver utters little more than a warm greeting and friendly farewell. Other options include “happy to chat,” in which case expect a bit of babble during the ride. If you’d prefer to see how your mood takes you once the trip starts, keep your options open by selecting “no preference.”

The new feature eliminates the potential awkwardness of having to interrupt the driver halfway through their conversation opener to break the news that actually the sound of silence feels like a really good idea right now thank you very much.

It’s also an option that some riders might like to see offered for the more popular, low-cost Uber X service, though at the current time there’s no indication that the company is planning such a move. Last year Lyft revealed that it had been considering a similar feature — it described it as “zen mode” — for its ridesharing service, though it has yet to roll it out.

Uber’s app now also lets Uber Black riders select the temperature of their vehicle so you can ensure it feels just right inside when it shows up, and you can also let the driver know if you have any bags with you so they can hop out and assist you. There’s also the chance to extend the pickup period by up to 15 minutes at no extra cost should you need a little longer to get ready.

In other efforts to improve its service, Uber recently launched its Ride Pass program offering savings for regular riders. Lyft also offers a similar subscription-based service called All-Access Plan.

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