In great news for the capital’s pet owners, Uber has just announced that it will soon be possible for Londoners to take their four-legged (or other combinations of limbs/wings/pseudopods/suckers etc) in their cars.
Uber Pet is a new in-app service that hooks up pet owners needing to get a ride with Uber drivers who are willing to have an extra furry passenger. Naturally, this is not free. There is a London £3.20 surcharge for carrying your mate (or £2 outside London, as if that were of any relevance to us whatsoever). To sweeten that particular pill, Uber will be donating £1 from every Uber Pet trip to animal charity All Dogs Matter.
Previously, it was left to the discretion of individual drivers whether they would accept a non-human travelling companion, leading to awkward slash frustrating situations involving missed vets’ appointments on the part of customers and unanticipated hoovering (and probably worse) on the part of Uber drivers.
The Uber Pet launch has not been without its naysayers, however (insert horse gag here). The elephant in the room is – of course – guide dog users, who already find trying to get dog-friendly cabs a bit of a stressful nightmare to say the least. They have taken to Twitter to ask if they will also be expected to pay the surcharge. Uber has previously stated that service dogs should always be accepted by its drivers, since it is the law that they must be allowed in cabs.
On its site, the company states: ‘If you are riding with a service animal, you do not need to select Uber Pet. This is because, in accordance with our Service Animal Policy and in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, drivers are required to transport passengers with service animals (unless the driver has a medical exemption), regardless of the ride option. Drivers have also been reminded of their legal obligations and warned that if they knowingly refuse to transport a rider because of their service animal, then they risk losing access to the Uber app permanently.’
However, other groups have raised concerns. One Uber rider took to Twitter to point out hidden dangers:
More info on Uber Pet here.