Amid underwhelming performance during its IPO in the NYSE, taxi app Uber has announced a new service called Quiet Mode. Available only for Uber Black and Uber Black SUV and only in the U.S., the feature will allow riders select an option where the driver does not talk to them or initiate any kind of conversation beyond what is necessary. The mode is also equipped with other features such as ‘happy to chat’ for riders who want to bond with their drivers, as well as a ‘No Preference’ to illustrate their flexibility as far as communication is concerned.
Time to time, we have seen a lot of e-taxi riders complain about chatty drivers, which makes this feature necessary considering some people are not comfortable talking to strangers. Also, some people, especially women, have reported harassment from male drivers or have been subject to uncomfortable flirty bevahiour. To this end, Quite Mode should give such groups an option to select rides that adhere to their preferences. Of course, the development will be accompanied by a price premium, which should not be an issue for riders who need more, and are choosy about what they really want.
It is worth noting that Uber Black is not available in the country. However, the company launched UberX locally a year or so ago, which it says will see Quite Mode sometime in the future too. What’s more, Quite Mode’s set of regulations are set at Uber’s headquarters and will not be subject to market dynamics as is it the case with by-laws.
Other Black features include an option to apprise a driver an extra pair of hands if the rider has luggage, extended pickup period (drivers have a 15-minute window before canceling a ride), premium customer care support and so forth.
This development marks a marketing approach that should separate Uber features from the competition. The company has also been under immense pressure from investors and has been subject to a series of legal issues across different markets in the world, not to mention constant cases of driver partner strikes.