If the thought of having to make small talk with your cab driver leaves you feeling a little tight in the chest, this new service from Japanese taxi company Miyako Taxi might be just what you need.
According to RocketNews24, the company is rolling out a "silent taxi" service where drivers only speak to passengers to greet them, confirm routes and notify them in the event of an emergency.
Ten cabs, which look exactly like regular taxis save for a sign informing riders they are in a silent taxi, are currently on the road in Kyoto and have been for two weeks with the potential for more to roll out.
A spokesperson for the company explained that the new cabs are intended to provide a more comfortable experience for passengers who wish to enjoy their ride in silence.
Though some might think the concept creates a barrier between drivers and passengers, some introverts argue that small talk does the exact same thing.
“Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, writes in her book. “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
Introverts tend to look for meaning in conversation, something that doesn't always come about in a 10-minute cab ride. So Miyako's new service might seem especially appealing for people in that situation, as well as for those with social anxiety.
Of course, on the other hand, if sitting in silence makes you uncomfortable, you can always hop into one of the regular cabs and chat away.