Pets in Uber
In 2019, Uber introduced “Uber Pet” as a dog-friendly ride option for their customers. Riders using Uber Pet are guaranteed room for one dog or cat on their trip, while additional pets are up to the driver’s discretion. There are no size or breed restrictions, so schnauzers or mastiffs alike are assured a seat! You can find the Uber Pet option when selecting the ride type after plugging in your pickup and destination. Service animals can join a ride without Uber Pet, per Uber’s service animal policies. If at all possible, contact the driver before pickup to let them know you are traveling with a service animal.
You’re still expected to be attentive to your pet during the ride, and Uber’s policies encourage owners bring either a leash, harness, or crate. You’re also encouraged to bring a towel or other seat covering in order to help keep the car clean for future riders (you never know if someone after you has a pet hair allergy!). You could be subject to a cleaning fee if your pet leaves a particularly bad mess in the car. This does not apply, however, if you’re traveling with a registered service animal. If your service animal sheds, the driver is not entitled to a cleaning fee.
Making sure your pet has done their business and that they don’t have car sickness are good steps to take ahead of getting a ride. And snap a photo of the car’s interior when you reach your destination, just in case you get dinged with erroneous cleaning fees!
Pets in Lyft
As of this writing, Lyft sadly doesn’t offer a pet-friendly ride option, leaving it to their driver’s discretion whether or not to accept a pet. Contact your driver as soon as possible to inform them that you will have a pet, what the pet’s breed and weight are, plus what equipment you’re using for seat coverings and handling your pet. Use your best judgment and be prepared with a seat covering and leash if you want to take your pet into a Lyft.
Like Uber, Lyft can charge you cleaning fees if your pet leaves a mess. Plan to bring a seat covering and take your pet out for a pee break ahead of the ride. And like we mentioned under Uber, it’s not a bad idea to take photos of the car’s interior when you reach your destination.
Lyft’s service animal policy is simple: “Always Say Yes.” Lyft drivers cannot, for any reason, by Lyft’s policies or by law, deny service to someone with a service animal, nor can they request additional fees for cleaning.
Pets in Chicago Taxis
Generic taxis in Chicago have discretion whether to accept pets, crated or otherwise. Many don’t charge additional for bringing pets, in particular Yellow Cab or Blue Cab taxis. However, if you’re planning to hop into a standard taxi cab, check with the driver that they allow pets before getting in. Service animals, like in all these services, by law can’t be refused by taxi drivers for any reason.
If you want a super-specialized alternative service option outside of Uber or Lyft, check out Chicago Pet Transport!
Chicago Pet Transport is a pet-specialized transport service that operates climate-controlled vans and accepts any breed or size of pet. They’re among the most pet-friendly of these services, but they encourage reserving a ride 24 hours ahead to guarantee an available driver. But they’re available to readily assist in the event of emergencies, driving you to the nearest vet or animal hospital if needed. They can be reached at (312) 256-4474, and their standard hours are 7am-7pm every day of the week. Emergency services are available 24/7.
Pets on CTA and Metra Trains in Chicago
The CTA and Metra have similar pet policies: only small animals that are held inside carriers that are held in the owner’s lap are allowed in the train cars. Our mastiff, retriever, or bigger husky buddies will have to ride in private style to get around! When leaving CTA stations, make sure to find an exit with accessible exit gates.
Owners are encouraged to ensure their pets behave acceptably on the train. Overactive pets, even service animals, can be asked to leave if they end up disturbing other passengers. If your pet has some travel anxiety, check out our article on CBD for pets to look at ways to help your pet relax!