Courtesy of Uber.

Not in the mood for a chatty Uber driver? You now can request a quiet ride.

As of last week, Pittsburgh is one of 43 cities where riders have an option to check a preference while ordering an Uber ride. But it will cost you.

As reported by TechCrunch last week, now “you can get access to Uber’s controversial Quiet Ride button that lets you ask your driver for silence if you’ll pay a 20% to 40% premium atop the UberX  price. Today the Uber Comfort tier launches in 43 cities (including Pittsburgh) and smaller states in the U.S., plus Ottawa, offering those willing to pay the premium access to newer mid-size cars with more legroom, higher-rated drivers and Rider Preferences for requesting specific climate control or no talking.”

Before users hail an Uber Comfort car, they can request “quiet preferred,” “happy to chat” or leave the default of “no preference” as well as request specific temperature settings. These Rider Preferences launched in May as part of Uber’s pricier Black and SUV cars along with a way to request help with luggage, but now they’re becoming more affordable, reports TechCrunch. 

This allows Uber to charge more for better vehicles and higher-rated drivers, which used to be included with its budget UberX tier.

This also lets Uber compensate drivers better if they’re willing to forgo the small talk — we would think that would be a relief to some drivers — or crank the air conditioning.

Some critics consider the Quiet Ride button an affront to the dignity of Uber’s contractors, saying it makes them act like robots when their jobs will soon be threatened by self-driving vehicles. But others just see it as enhanced customer service that’s reasonable to request, given riders are paying for a driver’s professional services, reports TechCrunch.

The reception to Quiet Ride mode has been generally positive among drivers and riders, said an Uber spokesperson. It helps drivers know customer preferences, giving them a better experience. And better ratings from users as well.

Read the full story here.

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.