New Uber Pet ride option will test in 7 cities so animal owners won’t get canceled on
How many times have you hailed an Uber, saw your driver on their way as you waited patiently with your furry best friend, and had them cancel on you? It's no secret that many Uber drivers just don't want to deal with the extra hassle that could potentially come along with allowing riders to bring their animals. The fur that gets everywhere, the messes, the "accidents," etc. – none of it sounds fun to deal with when you're driving your own car. But people love to (and often have to) travel with their pets, and, as such, they expect to be able to bring them along on Uber rides that they've paid for. That's probably why Uber is rolling out a new "Uber Pet" ride option.
This feature will allow you to notify drivers ahead of time that you prefer to travel with your fuzzy little pal. On November 16, riders in Austin, Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tampa Bay will have the option within the Uber app to test out, which adds a "small surcharge" of $3 to $5 for the privilege of traveling with an animal.
Drivers can also choose to opt out of Uber Pet if they're not interested in letting Mittens stretch her claws out in the backseat, but then they won't get any part of the surcharge that potential riders will have to agree to.
It's worth noting that drivers' refusal to allow pets can often stem from something other than the idea that they just don't want to deal with messes. Your Uber driver may have a pet allergy that you're unaware of, which could lead to a miserable ride for all involved. It could make for an even more dangerous situation, depending on the severity of the allergy.
Currently, there are no stipulations within Uber's rules or policies that prevent you from traveling with a pet in a regular Uber ride, with the exception of uberPOOL trips. Instead, the rideshare company leaves that up to the driver's discretion. According to the official Uber guidelines, you simply need to contact your driver to let them know you're bringing an animal along.
"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. You can use the Uber app to send a text message or call your driver." The ask for riders is to help drivers keep their vehicles clean by keeping pets in carriers or by providing a blanket as a courtesy to protect the car.
This only applies to non-service animals. State and federal laws and Uber's policies require that drivers allow service animals to accompany passengers at all times, including uberPOOL trips. It's unclear then, why Uber is opting to introduce a surcharge for something that it has already been allowing drivers to make their own judgment calls on. However, given that a portion of said surcharge will go to drivers willing to let you bring animals along for the ride, it does act as a sweet incentive for those who may previously have been unwilling to go along with it to change their mind.
After all, furry companions deserve quick and easy rides, too.