Ever since Uber hit the scene in 2009, rideshares have changed the way we get around. Not surprisingly, it wasn't long before drivers were inundated with requests from customers who wanted to ride with their pets. But do our dogs get a fare deal? It turns out that rideshare companies around the world have varying rules on bringing pets on board.
In October 2019, Uber changed the rideshare experience for furry friends in select markets by introducing Uber Pet. The new feature allows customers to select "Uber Pet" as an option when they request a ride, similar to choosing an UberX or Uber Pool. 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 pet is welcome in the car.
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. Riders should request an UberX for smaller dogs and an XL if Fido is XL. Other options include high-end Uber Select and Uber Black cars, as well as UberPool, in which you share your ride with other people. 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 could mean you 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 dust to drivers, so give them a nice review if they’ve made your pooch’s journey comfortable (and you better hope Fido’s on his best behavior, as drivers review passengers too). Uber operates in six continents, 83 countries, and over 850 cities. There are more than 75 million Uber riders and three million drivers around the globe.
Lyft was established in 2012 and has fast become Uber’s biggest competitor in the U.S. Many of the rules that govern pet rides in Uber also apply to Lyft, and many drivers 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 your 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 350 U.S. cities, as well as Toronto and Ottawa 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 Chicago, New York and Washington, DC, 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.
Another New-York based company, Juno prides itself on giving drivers a better cut in the deal than other apps. The socially conscious dog owner can jump in a Juno car with Fido as long as he specifies this detail by using the “Requests” button when booking his ride.
Wingz specializes in rides to airports across the U.S., from Miami to Portland and beyond. People traveling with dogs must 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 welcome dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, hamsters, birds in cages and fish in bowls or plastic bags (perfect if you’ve just won big at the carnival).