It's a nice feature but the downside is that it's not rolling out to all of Uber's slate of ride options.
Uber Black and Uber Black SUV are the company's premium auto services that place riders in high-end vehicles. It can be requested for any Uber Black or Uber Black SUV and is advertised as ideal for those who "need to respond to emails or are in the mood for a nap". If you're in the mood to chat, that's an option too. Uber says they have you covered now.
Additionally, riders who opt for an Uber Black vehicle will have "a little extra time" to get to the vehicle once it arrives at the designated pickup area and will have access to premium phone support with live service agents.
But a spokesperson for Uber in South Africa said these features won't be available in South Africa.
Riders can also now communicate their optimal temperature with "Temperature Control" and can request extra time to get in the auto with "Extended Pickup Period". One of them is a 15-minute grace period once the vehicle arrives to get in the auto, though a per-minute waiting fee will apply after 5 minutes. To avoid this social awkwardness, Uber has introduced Quiet Mode.
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Uber Black rides are typically 100 percent more expensive than Uber X, the company's low-priced option, and 200 percent more expensive than Uber Pool, its carpool option, according to the Verge.
The features come online in the United States on May 15.
"We're looking to create more differentiation between the premium products and the regular products to encourage more trips", Uber product manager Aydin Ghajar told U.S. online publisher TechCrunch, stressing that Quiet Mode is "something that people have been asking for a long time".
It may also help improve their passenger rating. Some drivers may give riders a lower score if they aren't polite or don't talk enough.
The giant ride-hailing company has not yet made a profit, despite its multibillion-dollar valuation.