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Uber Pet launches in Tampa Bay

Uber customers can now be connected with willing animal chauffeurs — for a fee.
Col. Jennifer Crossman smiles as Boomer, a 5-year-old dog, sits in the passenger seat of her car during the firefighter challenge at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. [Times (2016)] [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 16
Updated Oct. 16

Whether it’s a trip to the veterinarian or St. Petersburg’s Dog Bar, Tampa Bay Uber users can now easily bring their furry companion along for the ride.

On Wednesday, Uber Pet launched in Tampa Bay and a handful of other markets. The new option comes up within the regular Uber app. If a Tampa Bay passengers selects the “Uber Pet” option, they will be charged a $4 fee to bring their furry friend along.

“We anticipate cats and dogs to be the most frequent, but Uber Pet allows for any kind of animal to be brought on a trip — at the drivers’ discretion,” Uber said in a statement. “Riders are responsible for their animals’ behavior during an Uber Pet trip.”

A screen grab of what the new Uber Pet option looks like on the app. [Uber]

It makes sense Uber would begin testing the pet option in Tampa Bay. The area is consistently ranked among the most pet-friendly places in the country.

Prior to Uber Pet, bringing an animal along on a ride could be a gamble. Passengers could try contacting the driver before arrival to make sure it was okay, but there was no way to notify them in-app that an animal would be present.

RELATED: Uber Eats fueling a ‘ghost’ restaurant trend in Tampa Bay

Now drivers are able to opt-in to Uber Pet trips and also accept or decline pet trips as they come up.

Uber reminds riders that drivers will still rate passengers — and that score will now reflect how their pet behaves, too. Drivers can see a rider’s score before accepting them as a client.

“Their rating received is reflective of how they, and their animal, behave during a trip,” Uber’s statement said. “Our goal is that every experience feels safe, respectful, and positive.”

Uber says those with service animals should not pick the Uber Pet option. They can take a regular Uber ride and will not be charged the new pet fees.

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