For riders who cannot muster the energy for a conversation, it may be worth upgrading.
Uber Black and Uber Black SUV, the rideshare company’s premium offerings, have relaunched with some new features, including the option to request a quiet ride and set the temperature.
The move comes several months after domestic diva Martha Stewart ranted on Instagram about her first-ever Uber ride, calling the car a “mess inside and out,” according to media reports about the posts (which have since been deleted). So, what did Uber do? It partnered with Stewart herself to help promote the relaunch of Uber Black through a series of videos on social media (including in an Instagram post shared by Stewart).
Uber Black also has updated vehicle requirements—the cars must be 2014 or newer models, have extra legroom, and have a black leather interior and black exterior. Uber Black drivers will need to maintain a 4.85 minimum rating.
For those of us who are not always in the mood for chitchat when we get into a car with a stranger (early morning rides make this a particularly cringe-worthy experience), the option to choose whether you are “happy to chat, “quiet preferred,” or have “no preference” in terms of conversation may be the most exciting among the new Uber Black features. We had a lot of questions about this one, but there really isn’t more there beyond those three choices. If you change your mind midride, you’re on your own to navigate that with your driver.
You also can request whether you would like the car to be hot, warm, cold, or cool (or have no preference) and let your driver know whether you have luggage. Additionally, Uber Black riders will be given a little more time to get to the car—previously, riders had two minutes of free wait time before they would be charged for waiting. With the new Uber Black, the default wait time is now up to 15 minutes.
There will eventually be more features for Uber Black further down the line, but we don’t yet know what they will be. We’re hoping for the option to choose music and to customize the car scent (perhaps Martha can help with the latter?). Is that asking too much? We’ll find out.