Australian company PetCloud has released a new Uber-like app that’s just for pets. Called Pet Taxis, it lets you book an unaccompanied rideshare for your dog or cat.
What Pet Taxi is
The point of this service is to let users transport their pets to appointments, like the VET, grooming services or to a pet sitter.
The service currently has 1110 drivers across Australia, and they have all completed police checks and been trained in animal handling.
In light of the ongoing issues regarding Uber driver wages and benefits, Gizmodo Australia asked PetCloud about the payment system set up for its drivers.
“Pet Taxi drivers get paid 81% of the booking less a $12 flat booking fee, which means drivers for PetCloud get to keep a lot more of the booking than other ride-share drivers in the market,” a PetCloud representative said to Gizmodo Australia in an email.
The app itself works quite similarly to any other ridesharing platform. These are the instructions according to the Pet Taxi website:
- Install The PetCloud Pet Taxi App: Book your taxi for the dates and times which align with other appointments. On demand or up to 72hrs in advance.
- Prepare your Dog with a Body Harness or Cat Carrier.
- Your pet is picked up and taken to their appointment.
- Your pet is picked up and taken home again
Since first publishing this article PetCloud requested over Twitter DM that I remove the line “Your pet is picked up and taken home again.”
“Hi Teagan [sic] can you please remove this sentence urgently from the article written yesterday? ‘Unlike regular human rideshare services, a Pet Taxi booking includes pick up and drop off, as well as the return ride home’,” the message read.
The quote that is being referred to is directly from the company’s website and at the time of writing was still live:
A representative for the company did said over email that the wording for step four was going to be changed to “Your Pet is Collected from their Appointment. After the appointment is complete, your pet is picked up by a Driver and safely brought home.”
When Gizmodo Australia said this wording says basically the same thing as implies that the return fare is included in the trip, they said:
“Fare estimations are for one-way trips only. The instructions are essentially for pet owners needing to book a pet taxi for their pet to get an appointment, as well as back home.”
However, the instructions did not and still do not state that a return trip needs to booked separately.
In a subsequent email the PetCloud representative referred to the website steps as “causing confusion” rather than advertising something that isn’t offered.
“I’ll get… to take a closer look at the wording and maybe reconsider step 4 if you think it suggests that going to and coming back from a trip is implied as a single step or return trip, which is definitely not how it works. Like other rideshare services, each trip is calculated separately.”
PetCloud has not answered questions regarding whether this wording could be considered as false or misleading advertisement.
Update January 16: PetCloud has now changed the wording on the Pet Taxi to reflect that two bookings are required for pick up and drop off.
“You book a scheduled 1) Pick up trip and, a 2) Collection trip, in advance for the dates and times which align with your Vet or Grooming appointment,” the website now reads.
How it works
Unlike regular human rideshare services, a Pet Taxi booking includes pick up and drop off, as well as the return ride home. For that reason, it might end up a bit pricier than ordinary services.
“The cost of booking a Pet Taxi with PetCloud can range from $25 to $50 for short trips, though you may be eligible for discounts if you have a coupon code,” the Pet Taxi website reads.
“The total cost depends on distance of the trip, time taken to complete the booking, where it is a Day or Night trip, any extra wait time, special care requirements etc.”
The app itself provides a fare estimate, which includes a base fare of at least $10. Here’s the estimate we got from a ride from the Sydney CBD to Marrickville:
At the present time Pet Taxis seems to be best utilised by dogs and cats.
“The focus is definitely on dogs and cats as they can be secured safely in a harness or carrier,” a PetCloud representative said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“But if an opportunity arose to taxi a guinea pig somewhere, I’m sure a PetCloud driver would consider it.”
Pet Taxi is available on iOS and Android.
This story has been updated to included comment from PetCloud regarding the payment of its drivers as well as the wording around return trips.