"With these new features and more to come, we're excited to ensure that our riders can arrive relaxed and refreshed, wherever they're headed", a press statement said.
Uber is introducing a new feature where riders can select a "Quiet Mode" option when requesting for rides.
Quiet Mode: if you need to respond to emails or are in the mood for a nap, make your trip a quieter one with just one tap.
For one, passengers will be able to pick a "happy to chat" option through the app if they're up for chit-chat, or a "quiet preferred" option if speaking to another human being is the last thing they need right now.
Expect to pay up for the premium features: Uber Black and Uber Black SUV cost significantly more on average than the standard Uber X ride, or the cheapest option, Uber Pool. Beginning today in the USA, riders will be able to select "Quiet preferred" or "happy to chat" in the app, or just leave the setting at "No preference", so the driver will get a heads-up before he or she picks you up.
Other updates include letting riders specify their preferred temperature (a cool breeze from the air-con, maybe) and ask in advance for help loading their luggage into the vehicle. 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. You'll be paying more, but you probably won't know how much of that money will make it to your driver - given the May 8 TNC strike organized by regional drivers' associations, we may presume not much - and how much will go to patching the $1.8 billion Uber lost previous year. "That's why we've improved features and requirements to meet or exceed their expectations on every ride", the press statement explains. Some drivers may give riders a lower score if they aren't polite or don't talk enough.
Uber said it was rolling out new safety features to help riders avoid fake drivers, two weeks after the murder of a college student who got into her killer's auto mistakenly believing it was her ride. The company went live with its first ride in May 2010. They are part of Uber's effort to draw users back to its pricier Uber Black service.
The company is planning to launch a new tool for universities to provide service for students at odd hours when other options are limited.