Uber just rolled out its new feature, dubbed Uber Pet, to allow customers to bring along their pets for the ride. This is an important update because over 36% of households in the US have a dog and feel the need to bring them along for the ride. Most drivers simply don’t want these animals in their cars, either due to cleanliness, allergies, or even phobias. This often leads to cancellations and frustrations for both rider and customer.
This means riders have to hail another cab with no guarantee that it will pet-friendly either. This could be a major problem if your pet needs emergency care, or if you plan on moving away from your home for extended periods of time and have to bring your pet along with you.
The new update lets you hail a furball friendly driver from the app at an extra cost. According to Uber, the majority of the extra payments will go directly to the driver, which should incentive them to accept more customers with pets. The app currently accepts Uber Pet rides by default, but drivers can opt-out of this from their preferences menu.
The existing pet policy from Uber states that drivers must accept service dogs that help customers with certain disabilities. Both state and federal laws require service animals to be allowed to ride at all times. If that isn’t the case, it is up to the driver’s discretion if they decide to accept a rider’s pet in their car. Previously, customers had to contact their driver in advance to know if they can bring their animal with them. The new update does not impact Uber’s existing policy.
Uber Pet aims to solve this problem by smoothing out the communications process between customers and drivers regarding their pets.
Currently, the feature is available in many Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, and a few Asian countries.