It’s probably happened to you: you pull up to pick up your passenger only to discover they’d also like to bring their furry friend. Whether or not you take them (and their pet – not service animal) is up to you, but now Uber is making it easier for drivers in some cities to accept pets and receive additional payment for transporting them. RSG contributor Chonce Maddox Rhea shares what you need to know about Uber Pet below.
Uber is changing up the ride experience for both drivers and passengers with the new Uber Pet feature. Uber Pet will launch in select cities on October 16 and allows passengers to communicate to their driver that they’ll be bringing their pet on the trip as well.
Prior to this feature being launched, passengers who wanted or needed to bring a pet on their Uber ride often took a shot in the dark – or just did it anyway. The only options were to try to contact a driver ahead of time or utilize the service animal policy if it applied.
New! Uber Pet is now expanding to the following cities as of February 2020:
Tails are wagging 🐕🐈.
Uber Pet is expanding to 👇
🔘 Las Vegas
🔘 New Orleans
🔘 DC pic.twitter.com/bFTAEobJgt
— Uber (@Uber) February 11, 2020
Drivers who had pet allergies or simply weren’t expecting to deal with an animal would have to react to the surprise, or perhaps even cancel the ride. Not a great experience all around.
Uber Pet was established as a way to give riders peace of mind knowing that they’ll be able to arrive at their destination with their pet. It also helps drivers prepare for the experience in advance and complete a smooth trip without any interruptions or surprises.
How Uber Pet Works
Riders can select ‘UberPet’ as a trip option in the app and pay a small surcharge (anywhere from $3-5) for the Uber Pet selection in addition to their standard trip fair.
Dogs all over are probably cheering about the additional opportunity for a car ride right about now. In the past, Uber has launched new features that charge riders more but drivers didn’t necessarily receive a bump in their pay. That was bad..
An example that comes to mind is Uber Teen where it took a while and several complaints for Uber to elect to share the extra fee with drivers.
This time around, it seems like Uber Pet is going to be a more promising deal for drivers since they will get paid extra for driving around man’s best friend among other types of pets.
Where Will Uber Pet Be Available?
Uber Pet is currently available in:
- Las Vegas
- New Orleans
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Tampa Bay
It’s important to note that Uber Pet won’t replace Uber’s service animal policy, since this feature was designed specifically for riders who are non-service animal owners. Passengers with service animals are not required to use Uber Pet and can select from any number of ride options through the app without having to pay the surcharge.
How Pricing and Driver Fares Will Work Out
Riders will be able to view the Uber Pet surcharge on their receipt and it will be added to their upfront price when that option is selected in the app. The charge varies depending on the city, but passengers will likely pay anywhere from an extra $3 to $5 on top of the standard trip fare to ride with their pet.
Uber says that drivers still have flexibility with this new feature, meaning they can opt out of doing Uber Pet trips in the driver preferences menu in the app.
This won’t stop you from receiving other eligible trip opportunities. If you do choose to accept Uber Pet trips, Uber has guaranteed to pay a significant amount of the surcharge from the passenger. Yes, drivers get paid for this!
While this sounds like good news, we don’t really know what that actual percentage will be just yet. It’s likely that it will be different depending on the city, but since Uber Pet just launched, we definitely plan to observe how this pans out for drivers and how much it can boost someone’s earnings.
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How Drivers Can Handle Pets in Their Car With Ease
Transporting a pet along for the ride may be a new experience for you as an Uber driver, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Passengers must take full responsibility for the welfare of their animal.
If a pet makes a mess during the ride, you can request that the passenger pay a cleaning fee so it’s in their best interest that they keep the car clean during the ride, bring a pet carrier if needed, and encourage a well-behaved pet.
Looking for more driver-suggested products? Check out our list of the top things all drivers should keep in the car here.
You can also do small things to make the ride more comfortable for everyone. Consider keeping a small blanket or towels in the trunk to cover the seats when you receive an Uber Pet trip. Passengers might bring their own blanket, but it never hurts to be prepared on your end as well. You may also want to invest in some seat covers if you allow pets on your seats (and let’s be honest, people will want to allow Fido to hop on the seat) and rubber mats.
Keep your car neat and check to make sure small items get stored away after each ride. This can reduce the chance of a pet eating or chewing on something that they find in your car. You also might want to keep some air fresheners stocked and some wet wipes just in case a dog or cat sheds a little.
Drivers Are Left With the Final Say
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to participate in Uber Pet trips or not. We’re not really sure how the demand will be with Uber Pet, and you’re not required to accept these types of trips if you don’t want to.
Still, if you’re an Uber driver in one of the piloting cities and don’t have any issues with pets, you may want to try this feature out just to see what happens.
We’re always encouraging drivers to get proactive when it comes to implementing several strategies and tactics to boost your rideshare earnings whether that’s selling snacks in your car or putting advertisements on your car.
The fact that Uber is doing the right thing and paying drivers more from the surcharge about Uber Pet trips means it could help you boost your earnings with minimal extra work.
Let us know what you think about Uber Pet and whether you’d try it if you’re in one of the piloting cities.
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-Chonce @ RSG