Uber is piloting a new feature that lets U.S. riders alert drivers that a pet will be coming along, the latest effort from the company to appeal to a broader audience and become the one-stop shop for transportation, meals and other services.
The feature, called Uber Pet, will be available beginning October 16 in Austin, Denver, Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tampa Bay. Riders will pay for the privilege of taking their pets with them through what Uber describes as a “small surcharge.” And drivers will have the option of avoiding trips with non-service animals by opting out of Uber Pet trips in the driver preferences menu in the app.
Uber says it will pay drivers “a significant portion of that surcharge,” on top of their standard trip earnings.
The company emphasized that Uber Pet does not replace their service animal policy. Riders with service animals are not expected or required to use Uber Pet, and can select from any number of ride options without paying the surcharge.
Instead, Uber Pet was designed for riders who are pet or non-service animal owners. Uber expects cats and dogs will be the most common animals on Uber Pet trips.
Uber Pet is another example of the company making efforts to become the app behind every aspect of its users’ lives, namely through transportation and meal delivery. Uber unveiled last month a number of changes across its products designed to achieve that very goal.
“We want to be the operating system for your everyday life,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at the time. “A one-click gateway to everything that Uber can offer you.”