People have all kinds of feelings about Uber's new "silent mode" (do not just ask them to express them when they're in the car, because, well, you know.)
Earlier this week, Uber Deployed options for runners to customize their trips. Need help with your luggage? Above. Need more time to reach your meeting point? Yes, agree. Want to control the temperature of your car before you even board? Um sure.
None of the benefits, however, have attracted so much chatter as Uber's new "silent mode". Think of it as a silent autonomous Amtrak car. Or your own personal library. Or a little tricky from point A to point B, in which you communicate to your driver that you do not want him to talk to you.
For his part, Uber said that he would not use the data to match individual riders with drivers. And the giant said it would not add any additional cost to the benefits, which are available for Uber Black and Uber Black SUV rides.
True, the reaction was not negative. And some have said that the silent option is really appreciated. For example, some said that being able to tell your driver that you prefer to limit the conversation was appropriate for anxious customers who would rather not chat. Others said that this tool was particularly useful for deaf runners and those who often ride in their rides and have to "handle someone's head".
"I'm not always in the mood to pretend to understand and make the wrong smile and shake my head," wrote one person on Twitter.
Many female passengers have also praised silent walks, as they are very familiar with drivers directing conversations to inappropriate comments or "uncomfortable personal / romantic / sexual territories," said one woman on Twitter. The new option is not just talking or excluding zoning, the women said. Instead, it allows riders to "decide if they prefer to be frightened by conversation or silence," another woman wrote.
Uber has long struggled with what employees describe as a toxic corporate culture – and which, according to some, has not disappeared. The workers said the company had done nothing about the allegations of sexual harassment in its ranks. The long-time director of the company was deported and a subsequent report on Uber's culture at the workplace suggested the company reduce its alcohol activities at work. In May 2018, Uber announced that it would no longer prevent passengers, drivers or employees from publicly speaking any complaints of sexual harassment or aggression filed against the company. More recently, after Uber's initial public offering, employees expressed concern about work celebrations that made them feel uncomfortable.
To benefit from the "silent mode", Uber still needed further calls towards its accessibility options. Staying silent is a way to reassure deaf runners or those who are often the target of inappropriate advances. But that does not mean that at the click of a mouse, all the rides on the planet are just as welcoming to everyone.
"We need more accessibility options," said a Twitter user.