The latest offering from Uber aims to make life a little less “ruff” for animal lovers.
According to Uber, Uber Pet allows riders to “communicate to a driver that you’ll be bringing a furried (or even scaled!) friend onboard your Uber trip.”
The new feature is designed to give pet-toting riders “peace of mind so they know they’ll be able to arrive at their destination with their pet, without any interruptions or surprises.” Pet owners traveling with their animals just have to select the Uber Pet option when booking their ride, and pay a small surcharge — which will be included in the upfront price and varies from $3-$5 — for the service.
The new pilot ride option will be available through the app to riders in Austin, Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Tampa Bay starting Oct. 16. To ensure both riders and drivers stay happy, drivers are allowed to opt out of Uber Pet. Drivers who do decide to participate, will receive “a significant portion of that surcharge, on top of their standard trip earnings,” according to Uber.
All household pets are accepted on rides, including turtles and hamsters, as well as caged birds and fish in bowls or bags. Uber Pet riders can can bring more than one animal at the driver’s discretion.
With the introduction of its new feature, the company is not replacing its service animal policy that requires drivers to accept all rides with service animals. Instead, Uber Pet is a separate, independent feature — riders with service animals are not subject to any fee and do not have to select the Uber Pet option when scheduling a ride.
Although Uber Pet is new to the U.S., international riders have been using the feature for a couple of years now. It first launched in Singapore in 2017, and is available in Mexico and Brazil.