Uber drivers won't talk to you – if you pay the premium

Uber passenger on smartphone
Image Credit: Uber

Whether you're commuting into work on hangover, rushing to the airport, or getting ferried home in an inebriated state, sometimes your time in Uber isn't conducive to relaxed conversation. That's why Uber is allowing riders to stipulate they aren't in the mood.

Uber has announced a number of new features for US passengers using luxury Uber services like UberBLACK, or UberSUV – both of which involve fancier and more spacious car models than a regular Uber ride.

For one, passengers will be able to pick a 'happy to chat' option through the app if they're up for chit-chat, or a 'quiet preferred' option if speaking to another human being is the last thing they need right now.

Other updates include letting riders specify their preferred temperature (a cool breeze from the air-con, maybe) and ask in advance for help loading their luggage into the vehicle.

You're paying a premium for these services, though – an UberBLACK ride will cost around $7 up front (roughly £5 / AU$10), while Uber SUV doubles that, not including the fee per minute, which scales up with more luxury riding options.

Can't hear you...

We don't expect many drivers will force conversation on you if you've asked not to be spoken to, but being able to clarify that in the app will certainly stop them trying to fill the silence. 

Given the long time they spend driving you and others around all day, though, it might not be a bad thing to be open to chat once in a while. Our digital services are increasingly able to shut us off from people in the real world – often at our behest – and seeing Uber workers as extensions of an app to be turned on and off... isn't exactly humanizing.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.