This article was updated in April 2022.
Rideshares offer a convenient and stress-free way for millions of people to get around. Whether it’s a daily part of your life or a reliable alternative when needed, Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies have changed the way we get around. They can also be a handy transportation solution for your pet. But do dogs get a “fare” deal when it comes to hailing a pet-friendly ride? Read on to learn the varying rules about bringing pets on board your favorite rideshare.
Uber makes it easy for customers to bring Fido along for the ride with Uber Pet. The feature allows riders to select "Uber Pet" as an option when they request an Uber, similar to choosing an UberX or Uber Pool. This alerts the driver that you will be accompanied by one pet. While there are no breed or size restrictions, any additional pets you want to bring are within the individual driver's discretion. A small surcharge will be added to the ride for Fido's fare. Drivers can accept or reject the mode in their preferences, giving passengers additional peace of mind in knowing that their furry friend is welcome in the car. Pets are not allowed on Uber Pool rides.
Uber Pet is currently available in most U.S. cities as well as select international locations, including cities in Canada and Australia. In other markets, customers must request their ride and then call the driver and ask them if it’s ok to bring a dog. The decision to allow Fido is left to each individual driver. Canceling the ride immediately after contact will prevent a cancellation fee if they say no. While small pups will be comfortable in an UberX, riders with big dogs should request an UberXL. Other options include high-end Uber Select and Uber Black cars. Passengers in any ride should bring a clean blanket with them to keep the Uber’s seats hair free. Be warned, any mess left behind by your pet means that you could get hit with a cleaning fee—the bigger the mess, the bigger the fee. Some drivers also allow cats on board as long as they're in a pet carrier.
Ratings are like gold to drivers, so give them a 5-star review if they’ve made your pooch’s journey comfortable (and you better hope Fido is on his best behavior, as drivers review passengers, too). Uber operates in six continents, 85 countries, and over 850 cities. There are more than 75 million Uber riders and three million drivers around the globe.
Lyft is Uber’s biggest competitor in the U.S. Many of the rules that govern pet rides in Uber also apply to Lyft, and drivers often work with both companies. The decision to allow pets is left to each driver, and customers should get approval before they bring Fido. In addition to a standard car option, Lyft offers Lyft Lux, Lux Black, and Lux Black XL, offering riders luxury upgrades and roomier vehicles if needed. It also has a shared ride service in case you and your pup like carpooling with others. Customers who are charged a fee after a Lyft driver has canceled their ride due to their pet can tap 'Contact Support' on the app to have it refunded. As with Uber, ratings matter to Lyft drivers and riders, so be kind to your driver if he or she accepts your pup. Lyft operates in over 600 U.S. cities as well as 10 cities in Canada.
Despite only having 3% of America’s population, New York makes up a quarter of the country's ridesharing market. Aparna Srinivasan realized that many people who use these services in the Big Apple don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a driver who would accept a dog on board their Uber. She started SpotOn, which guarantees users a pet-friendly ride. Sign up to the app or visit the website, and SpotOn will match you with an appropriate car for your pet’s size (Great Danes need an SUV, but Pugs can fit in a Mini). All of their cars are equipped with seat covers and a special harness to keep dogs safely secured. Although the service is only available in New York City and the boroughs at the moment, SpotOn is hoping to expand as its popularity grows.
A carpooling service operating in more than a dozen cities across the country, Via picks people up and drops them off at designated points, rather than door to door. As it’s a carpool, riders share their Via-cle with other people who might not be dog lovers (how dare they!). With all of their customers in mind, Via asks that dog and cat owners transport their pets in an airline-approved carrier.
Wingz specializes in rides to airports across the U.S., from Miami to Portland and beyond. Pets ride free with Wingz. People traveling with dogs are just required to add their request to the "Options and Instructions" section when booking their reservation.
Ryde, a rideshare app currently operating across Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, has a special service just for pets. RydePet is an option on the app, so just tap it and wait for a driver to accept you and your pet. It’s not just Fido that can ride in the passenger seat, either. RydePet also welcomes cats, rabbits, turtles, hamsters, birds in cages, and fish in bowls or plastic bags. A maximum of two medium-sized pets or one large pet is permitted on board.
One of the newest rideshare services in the market, RideAlto does things differently. For one, drivers are employees rather than contractors. Riders benefit from perks like app-controlled custom playlists, complimentary water and charging cables in every car, and even a signature Alto scent. And the company aims to be the nation's first, 100-percent electric ride-hail fleet. RideAlto welcomes furry friends to ride along in their cars. Riders are asked to give drivers a heads up by adding information about their pet in the notes before booking a ride, but even this step isn't really necessary, as Fido is always welcome on board. RideAlto is currently available in Dallas, Houston, Miami, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.
Curb works with roughly half of all yellow (and green) cabs in New York, and across 30 other cities in the U.S., to provide the taxi version of a rideshare. When you use the app to call a nearby Curb Taxi, its meter becomes locked and the driver won’t accept any other rides on the way to you. There is no specific way to select a dog-friendly cab, but like Uber or Lyft, you can book a ride and then call the assigned driver to ask if he or she would be ok with giving your pooch a ride, too.
Grab, a taxi hailing app based in Singapore, has trained a number of drivers in animal handling, allowing two medium or one large pet to ride in a GrabPet Car. Drivers are provided with an in-car kit that includes a back-seat cover, microfiber towel, and an air freshener. Riders will pay a small premium on their GrabPet fares as it’s a specialized, on-demand service.
Ola started life in Mumbai, India, and now works with 1,000,000 cars across 169 cities, including cities in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. Whether you’re heading into town or the airport, the cab-hailing app allows members to select their service, from economic to luxury travel. Although pets are not permitted in the shared rides that the company offers, the decision to allow dogs in individual city taxis is up to the driver.
Working with taxi drivers in a number of cities across the U.S., Flywheel is another e-Hail app. Once you’ve booked a cab, check its distance on the virtual map and trust the driver to get you where you want to go as quickly as possible. Some drivers will allow dogs, but make sure to leave a comment for your driver in advance to avoid any unpleasant rejections.
As new and innovative pet-friendly taxis and rideshares sprout to serve dog lovers around the world, it will only get easier to hail a ride with Fido.