Pet project

Uber unleashes new service in Austin allowing passengers to ride with pets

Uber unleashes service in Austin allowing passengers to ride with pets

Jo's 16th Annual Pet Parade in Austin French Bulldog Rob
Pups can ride along in Uber beginning October 16. Photo by Shelley Neuman

Ride-hailing service Uber is making it easier for Austin customers to bring their dogs, cats, and other pets along for the ride.

On October 16, Uber is introducing its new Uber Pet feature for customers in Austin, as well as Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Tampa Bay. Uber announced the pilot project last week.

Why was Austin chosen? “We launch pilots in cities where we see a combination of potential need and an opportunity to continue developing features based on our customers’ feedback,” Uber spokesman Steve Imm says.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Austin regularly is recognized as one of the best friends of man’s best friend. Dogtime.com places Austin at No. 4 on its list of the country’s dog-friendliest cities, while personal finance website WalletHub ranks Austin as the fourth most pet-friendly city in the U.S.

When searching for a ride, a user of the Uber app will be able to choose the Uber Pet option to locate vehicles whose drivers accept pet passengers. Picking the Uber Pet feature will add $3 to $5 to the cost of a ride, The Daily Dot reports.

“We built this feature to give riders peace of mind so they know they’ll be able to arrive at their destination with their pet, without any interruptions or surprises,” Uber says.

Drivers will be able to steer clear of trips with non-service animals by opting out of Uber Pet trips in the Uber app for drivers. Riders with service animals won’t need to use the Uber Pet feature and won’t be assessed a surcharge.