NEW YORK CITY — This car service app has gone to the dogs — literally.
Whisk, a car-hailing app that lets riders request livery cabs with their smartphones, launched a new feature last week that connects customers riding with pets with animal-friendly drivers.
Users are now able to click the pet icon in the Whisk app, which officially launched last October, to see nearby pooch and cat-loving cabbies in real time. There is a $10 additional fee for riders traveling with pets.
Whisk CEO Michael Ibrahim said that he was inspired to create the new feature when his beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback Bafana broke its leg after being hit by a bicyclist in Manhattan in 2012.
“Our elevator was broken so we fire-carried our 60-pound puppy up and down eight flights of stairs and 20 blocks to the vet. It was nearly impossible to find a cab on the street that would welcome Bafana,” said Ibrahim.
“Since then, I couldn’t wait to launch a car-finder for pets as another way Whisk serves New Yorkers’ everyday needs,” he said.
The service is not limited to dogs, though drivers will have treats on hand for their pup-passengers, said Ibrahim.
Whisk drivers will pick up dogs as heavy as 85 pounds, but asks that all pets be kept in a cage on the floor or on a provided blanket on the back seat.
Drivers can refuse a ride if the animal is not in a carrier unless it is a service animal. They may also refuse a ride if a pet is extremely dirty or if they feel the animal poses a danger.
A spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission said that the agency met with Whisk last year and the company appeared to be in compliance with city rules. The agency will likely meet with Whisk again this year, the spokesman said.
Paul DeBenedetto contributed to reporting.