Uber to launch pet transportation option uberPet from Oct 20

The uberPet service will incur a $2 booking fee on top of the UberX fare.
The uberPet service will incur a $2 booking fee on top of the UberX fare. PHOTO: UBER SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Ride-hailing app Uber will launch a pet transportation option from Friday (Oct 20), allowing customers to take their dogs, cats and other animal companions along with them.

Through uberPet, customers can request an UberX car which is pet-friendly, meaning that its drivers are receptive to ferrying animals, and have opted to join the programme.

When asked how many drivers are under uberPet, Uber would say only that it is in the "thousands", and declined to provide an exact number.

The uberPet service will incur a $2 booking fee on top of the UberX fare, said the company on Thursday. The UberX service has a base fare of $3, along with a charge of 20 cents per minute of journey time and a per kilometre rate of 45 cents.

"We've heard feedback from riders that it can be a challenge to get a ride with their pet, as certain modes of transport do not allow animals to travel on board," said Uber in a statement.

"In addition, we understand there are situations where drivers are not comfortable ferrying animals," the company said.

Under the Land Transport Authority's regulations, cabbies are not allowed to reject passengers with caged or muzzled pets, except for health or religious reasons.

uberPet is believed to be the second app to tap the sharing economy to offer pet transportation.

PetMate, which started in 2015, matches pet owners and private, non-commercial drivers, who have offered to ferry pets in their spare time for a fee.

There are at least 20 pet taxi services here, run by companies and individuals, according to a report by The Straits Times in March this year.

Under the uberPet guidelines, pet owners are encouraged to take only one pet with them on the ride.

If there is more than one pet, it will be left to the discretion of the UberX driver whether to take the booking, said Uber.

Customers have to pay a $6 penalty if they cancel a ride.

For drivers, rejecting a ride affects their cancellation rate, which they must maintain below a certain level, failing which they can get suspended from the platform. This rate, which varies across cities, is not publicised by the company.

The Straits Times understands that both parties can contact Uber in the case of a dispute over the one-pet policy.

"All household pets are allowed on uberPet. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, hamsters, birds in cages and fish in bowls or plastic bags," Uber added.

Uber said that it will waive the $2 booking fee for uberPet until the end of the year. Animals are not insured on uberPet, said Uber.