Uber Pet, Kind of a Rip Off
Taking pets on Uber (and Lyft) has mostly never been an issue, particularly for small dogs and cats (in carriers, of course). Now, Uber created a program called Uber Pet. Sounds good, right? Well, it does guarantee your pet will get a ride. However, you now must now pay an extra fee. On their site, Uber isn’t clear regarding the extra cost. Users online suggest an extra $3 to $6. And only one pet per ride. What if you have two cats inside a carrier? What’s the harm? Why pay a penny more?
Uber can’t say they’re charging more out of a concern that the pet can damage the vehicle because if that happens, the passenger is responsible. And I agree with that. If your dog has an accident out of either end, the passenger should pay the “clean up costs.” So, what then is that extra charge for? My answer – it’s for Uber to make money taking advantage of pet owners.
For many ride share is truly the best way to go to the veterinarian, groomer, or perhaps dog training class. I suggest, for the most part, four-legged passengers are more well-behaved than two-legged passengers. And demonstrating appreciation for the opportunity to travel with the driver, many passengers would more likely tip the driver. It’s Uber that’s making money on this one – not the drivers.
Federal law mandates service dogs are not subject to any extra charge; ride share drivers MUST take service dogs just as taxis must (or at least they are supposed to). As for comfort animals, I’m unsure, as Uber never consulted me – or apparently any “pet expert” – so there’s nothing on their website regarding rules for animals in other categories, such as comfort animals. And what if you do happen to have a comfort peacock? To be clear dogs and cats that partake in animal assisted activities (such as going into hospitals or nursing homes) are not service animals. Comfort animals also are not included among service animals, and therefore not specified in Federal Law. Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and virtually all state laws, a service animal is an animal that has been trained to perform work or tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.
While Uber Pet does apparently guarantee a driver that is pet friendly (or pet tolerant), is it fair to charge more when there is no extra effort, time or cost to Uber?