New Feature Lets Uber Black Car Riders Tell Their Filthy Pleb Drivers to Shut the Fuck Up

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi walks outside of the New York Stock Exchange on May 10, 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Uber has announced a new feature that will allow some riders to properly express their disgust for their filthy, lower class drivers—all with the simple touch of a button.

Starting today, Uber Black and Uber Black SUV riders will be able to select “Quiet Mode” from the app, which will inform their driver that they should shut the fuck up and not talk unless it’s absolutely necessary.

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The change is one of many being rolled out today for Uber’s Black Car service, which differentiates itself from regular Uber trips by using premium cars with leather seats and “professional drivers” which must maintain a rating of 4.85 or higher. The Uber serial killer who murdered six people, for instance, only had a rating of 4.73 and would not have been allowed to drive for the Uber Black service.

But Uber Black isn’t just about fancy cars and high ratings anymore. Now there are a multitude of new features that can be selected on the app for Black Car rides, including preferences for temperature control, help with luggage, and, again, telling your driver to shut the fuck up because they’re of a lower social class and it’s not civilized when members of different classes communicate beyond what is absolutely necessary. At least that seems to be the idea.

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“We know that when riders choose Uber Black and Uber Black SUV, they want a consistent, high quality experience every time they ride,” Uber’s senior product manager Aydin Ghajar said in a statement, presumably while wearing a monocle or some shit. “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.”

Making riders feel like they have their own personalized driver has been Uber’s promise from the start. Founder Travis Kalanick first heard the idea for the app from StumbleUpon founder Garrett Camp in 2008 while on a trip to Paris, and Camp was upset that he’d recently spent $800 on black car service in New York, despite being a very rich man. Camp imagined splitting the cost among a number of people to bring the price down, and the company started selling the idea of Uber as having your own personal driver. The rest, of course, is labor law history.

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Not all of that worked out so well since Uber’s safety standards have been abysmal over the years. Just yesterday, CNN discovered that an alleged warlord was driving in Virginia. And of the drivers who aren’t literal war criminals or serial killers, Uber’s workers are regularly treated like shit. This new feature will likely make things even worse by setting a new social norm that turns workers into little more than fleshy robots that should just shut their mouths and drive.

Uber’s revolution for the world wasn’t in creating a transportation app, which plenty of people have done successfully. The real revolution was devising a way to flout labor laws that otherwise provide a livable wage for workers and driving down costs through any means necessary. And with Uber going public, the long con seems to have worked out. At least for Uber’s executives and investors.

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Living in the future sure is fantastic. And we can’t wait to see what Uber does next. Maybe they’ll introduce a button that tells Uber drivers when they’re allowed to have a bathroom break—something that is a very real problem in the United States, where there’s no public restroom infrastructure.

Or maybe Uber will add a button that tells drivers that they’re not allowed to eat spicy foods before a trip or that they should lose some weight. The sky’s the limit really, as workers are stripped of more rights every day, and the working class exists as an army of cheap labor just waiting to get replaced by automated solutions. Robots wouldn’t dare ask you how your day was or tell you a personal story.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog