The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways, including how we get around. This is especially true for people who don’t have a car and rely on public transit. Four months ago, we may have taken the subway to run errands, or Amtrak for a quick trip, but with limited schedules and potential for spreading the virus, these aren’t options for many people anymore. But now, people in certain U.S. cities have another possibility: Uber Hourly.
Starting at $US50 ($75) an hour, you can request a trip with an Uber driver, lasting up to seven hours. Users order a ride the way they normally would—through the Uber app—just selecting the “Hourly” option instead of UberX, UberXL or Uber Pool.
What to know about this service
Of course, there’s plenty of fine print. Beginning on Tuesday, June 2, this service will only be available in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, D.C., Houston, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Tacoma and Tampa Bay (for now, at least). Also, the mileage included in the $US50 ($75)/hour price varies by city, so $US50 ($75) may not get you as far in Chicago as it does in Phoenix, for example. The hourly cost also doesn’t include tolls, a tip, or other surcharges, like adding a car seat, Thrillist reports.
“We built this feature for riders that anticipate needing additional flexibility when taking care of essential tasks, and for drivers so that they could access an additional earning opportunity,” director of rider operations Niraj Patel said in a statement. “We hope this feature makes life easier for all customers during this ‘new normal’ and challenging time.”
According to a release from the company, Uber is rolling out its new hourly service after a successful pilot of the program in cities across Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Uber Hourly is being marketed as a way to have the flexibility of having your own car (well, technically, your own driver) for a more extended period of time—like if you need to run errands, or take a loved one to and from a doctor’s appointment—without having to book separate rides at each destination.
It’s also supposed to be a little more comfortable: Those who opt for Uber Hourly will be matched with a driver who has a more spacious and newer vehicle (i.e. the kind that are eligible for Uber Comfort). Just don’t forget your face mask.