Uber riders in Philadelphia will soon be able to book trips for hours at a time.
The “hourly” option, available in Philadelphia starting Tuesday, works almost like a car for hire. Riders needing a lift to a grocery store or doctor’s office can expect the driver to wait until they’re finished with the errand, instead of needing to request another trip.
The feature costs $50 per hour, excluding tolls, and has a seven-hour limit. “Hourly” can be used to get to multiple destinations, but not to get to the airport.
“This is a way to sort of have access to a vehicle in a little more convenient way than just having to click an Uber every single time,” said Harry Hartfield, Uber spokesperson.
The feature will be offered in 12 cities beginning Tuesday, with Philadelphia as the only Northeastern city included in the pilot. While it wasn’t added in response to COVID-19, the rideshare giant said, the pandemic prompted prioritizing the rollout.
“This is one other way that we think will make people more comfortable being in an Uber,” Hartfield said. “We know there’s some riders and drivers alike who like the comfort of knowing that that driver is with them all day.”
The rideshare company started requiring riders and drivers to wear masks this month. Front passengers are also prohibited. Uber also has stopped its “Pool” feature, where riders can share trips with others heading in a similar direction for a lower price.
Lyft implemented similar measures amid the pandemic, including required face masks.
Transportation has halted across the region with “stay-at-home’ orders in place, though companies and agencies are preparing for a comeback. As the region readies for a “yellow” reopening phase, the Parking Authority will again enforce parking regulations and charge regular Center City garage rates.