Uber Pets Launches in Select Cities
Uber is introducing a pilot program in seven U.S. cities that makes it simpler for customers to bring their pets on rides. Beginning October 16, the Uber Pets feature will be available in Denver, Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; Phoenix and Tampa Bay, Fla.
The current Uber pet policy, which is similar to that of other rideshare services like Lyft and Juno, leaves it up to the driver’s discretion as to whether a pet can be brought into the car. However, this can lead to sticky situations as drivers can turn down customers once they see a pet is with them.
In Uber’s current customer guide, it is recommended that riders contact their driver prior to pick-up in order to let them know a pet is with them.
“If you're planning to ride with a pet that's not a service animal, it's good practice to contact the driver who accepted your ride request to let them know,” the guidelines say. “You can use the Uber app to send a text message or call your driver.”
Drivers may not want pets in their vehicle because of the potential mess and damage to the car’s interior or because of allergies. Whatever the case, a last-minute cancellation leaves pet parents scrambling for another ride.
The Uber Pets app feature eliminates this inconvenience by automatically matching pet parents with drivers that allow pets in their cars. The option comes with a surcharge that ranges from $3 to $5. Drivers receive a share of this additional cost.
Service animals are currently allowed to ride in Uber cars at all times and at no additional cost. Riders with service animals do not need to select the Uber Pets feature.