Traveling with pets can be a major hassle, and it doesn’t help if you’re somewhere without access to your own vehicle. Uber is here to help. The app and service now allow pets to come along on at least some rides, for a nominal fee. Of course. With Uber’s exploitative gig economy independent contractor business model, not every Uber driver is equipped or willing to ferry pets along with human passengers. You can spot which ones will allow pets in the main Uber interface; they’re market “Uber Pet” instead of the standard ride. (In my DFW suburb, I didn’t see any immediately available.) Note that Uber only allows pets to ride in addition to people: you can’t send Fido to your cousin’s for the weekend alone. Also, I’m betting that “pets” has a very specific definition that Uber Pets drivers are aware of. Bringing your bearded dragon along in its carrier is probably fine. Trying to fit your komodo dragon into someone’s Kia Soul is probably going to negatively affect your rider rating. Pets need to be leashed or otherwise restrained, and that it would be polite if you’d bring along a towel for your ride, so your furry friend doesn’t get the driver’s seats furry, too. The new explicit pet policy makes things a lot more clear: previously you didn’t know whether a driver would accept pets without a lengthy conversation. Uber notes that pets aren’t covered under the standard insurance policy that covers cars and people. Now as before, riders with service animals should be accommodated by all Uber drivers, regardless of whether they accept standard pets or not. Uber seems pretty frantic to branch out beyond its standard ridesharing model. In addition to the more premium Uber XL and Uber Eats food delivery, the company now has the option to send local packages via Uber driver.

*By Michael Crider,*

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