You can now hire Uber drivers by the hour in select US cities

Uber has announced it's giving users in selected US cities the option to hire drivers by the hour, so you can get a feel for what it's like having your own personal chauffeur on call.

The new feature will set you back $50 (about £41/AU$75) per hour, with a variable add-on fee if you cover a lot of miles. Passengers will be matched with a vehicle that fits the Uber Comfort guidelines, with more headroom and legroom.

Uber Hourly is going live on Tuesday, June 2, in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Tacoma, Tampa Bay, and Washington DC, with a wider roll out planned eventually.

“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,” says Uber in a blog post.

Safety first

Apparently the hourly option has already been attested in cities across Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, so presumably it will eventually make its way to most or all of Uber's markets. As yet there's no word on pricing internationally.

Uber will be hoping to ramp up ride numbers as countries across the world emerge from self-isolation and lockdown, and has been putting new safety measures in place to protect drivers and passengers.

Both drivers and passengers are being asked to wear face masks or covers, while passengers are also requested to sit in the back seat and to keep the windows open. The maximum number of suggested passengers for an UberX ride is now three rather than four.

Uber says it has been providing face masks and sanitizing kits for drivers, and will continue to do so over the coming months.

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