Uber has introduced a higher-tier feature called Uber Comfort that allows drivers to set preferences for conversation and climate control, according to a report. It also offers more leg room and higher-rated drivers. The feature will cost 20 to 40 percent more than a regular UberX price.
Uber Comfort launched on Tuesday (July 9) in 43 cities and some smaller states in the U.S., as well as in Ottawa, Canada.
Before calling for an Uber Comfort ride, users can request “quiet preferred,” “happy to chat” or “no preference.” They can also ask for the temperature in the car to be warmer or colder.
The preferences were initially launched in May for Uber’s higher “Black” tier, as well as an option for help with luggage, but they are now more affordable. It also means Uber can charge more for vehicles that are better than its UberX tier, but not as elite as its Uber Black vehicles. This also means slightly more money for drivers if they qualify.
“Uber Comfort should result in fares for drivers that are at least 20 percent higher than UberX (not including surge or promotions) for a trip with the same time and distance,” an Uber spokesperson said.
User reactions are split on whether the new feature treats drivers more like robots or allows for a greater level of customer service.
“The reception to Quiet Mode has been generally positive among drivers and riders,” an Uber spokesperson said. “Riders appreciate the consistency and control they have over the type of travel; business travelers in particular have shared how rider preferences have helped them be more productive en route to the airport, important meetings or other work-related destinations. Drivers have shared how these new rider preferences have helped take the guesswork out of riders’ expectations, and helped them provide the best service possible.”
The spokesperson also stressed that Quiet Mode is a “conversation preference” and not an order.