In places like Chicago, Boston, Austin, Nashville, Philadelphia, and D.C., Uber passengers now have the option of bringing their pets along for the rides they order. Uber Pet is a new feature under the app’s “Choose a Ride” option. Riders are matched with a pet-friendly driver.
In addition to a $4 to $6 surcharge, which depends on the city, riders can be charged a cleaning fee for excessive pet hair, damage, or waste. While there are no breed or size restrictions, Uber Pet is limited to one animal per trip. Drivers have the option of opting out of providing this service. If a driver opts in, they are allowed to decline a ride with a pet for any reason.
Previously, Uber left it up to the driver’s discretion when admitting non-service animals. Riders were advised to call their drivers and confirm that they were allowed to bring their pets. Drivers could decline and the ride would be canceled. If the driver accepted, there was no policy in place in the event the animal was destructive or made a mess.
While this service is currently only available in select cities, the company plans to expand the program in the future depending on how the pilot program goes.
When bringing a pet on an Uber, the company recommends having the pet restrained with a harness, leash, or carrier, bringing a blanket or towel to cover the seat, asking the driver if they have a preference for where the animal should sit, and refraining from leaving the pet unattended.
Uber Pet does not apply to service animals. Drivers are prohibited from denying services to riders with service animals. Drivers must accept service animals and the pet surcharge does not apply. To confirm if a pet is a service animal, a driver is only allowed to ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what they’ve been trained to do. They cannot ask for paperwork or documentation pertaining to licensing and the animal does not have to be wearing identifying tags or a vest.
As Uber continues to release new services, it’s likely more people will utilize the service. No matter who’s behind the wheel, there’s always the potential for an accident. If you’ve been in a crash resulting from your Uber driver’s negligence, seeking a legal opinion from the Rideshare Law Group can help you determine how to go about receiving the compensation you need to recover. Contact us for more information.