Catching an Uber with your dog has always been a gamble. Sometimes Uber drivers just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ as you and your pooch hop in the back seat. Others glare if your pet so much as sets a paw on their delicate upholstery. Other drivers will take one look at your pup and cancel the ride. In short, it’s been ruff out there.
But the company is finally throwing dog owners a bone with Uber Pet, a new option for folks traveling with nonservice animals. (Its current pet policy requires drivers to accept only service animals.) Starting next Wednesday, October 16, Uber will start testing the new ride option in Austin, Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Tampa Bay, Florida. (New Yorkers will just have to continue shoving their dogs in bags and riding the subway for now.)
Now, users can select the Uber Pet option, pay a surcharge (naturally) of between $3 and $5, and cut out the whole frustrating process of hoping your driver loves it when dogs mash their little noses on the rear windows. Uber Pet will be an option in the same place that UberX, Uber Pool, and other types of rides are listed on the app, and drivers can opt out if they don’t want four-legged passengers. If they do take dogs, drivers will get a portion of the pet surcharge.
As Venture Beat points out, Uber Pet is not entirely new. It has been available in other markets, including Singapore and a number of Latin American countries, including Brazil and Mexico. Now it is coming to Uber’s biggest market, and pet owners will certainly be happy to have it.
For its part, Lyft has a pet policy that gently suggests passengers reach out to drivers ahead of time to let them know they have a pet with them, but it’s not particularly feasible considering how difficult it is to even get a driver to pick you up where you are actually standing.