I'm not gonna lie. Even though I know it's Uber's policy not to let its drivers tote around minors, I've let my 15-year-old daughter use the app to score a ride home at night on more than one occasion. And apparently, I'm not alone. An Uber driver in Denver, Colorado named Michelle recently told local news station Next she gets requests once or twice a day from parents who want her to transport their kids, and she usually obliges. After all, she was a single mom for years, so she totally understands the convenience factor and peace-of-mind that comes from having your kick dropped off and picked up right at your door, as opposed to having them walk down a public street to get to a bus stop. But after a meeting with other drivers in her area, Michele has now changed her tune.
"I've stopped picking up teenagers," she explained to the news station. "When I show up, I ask their age and if they're under 18, I advise them to tell their parent."
It may be a bummer for parents looking for a little assurance that, for example, their teen won't get into a car with a friend who's been drinking, or that they'll get a break from drop-off/pick-up duty, but ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have policies against transporting unaccompanied minors that are included in the terms of service when you sign up for an account. And both maintain right to cancel any parent's account if they're caught trying to order a ride for a minor.
Uh-oh! The drivers themselves could also get in trouble if they're caught transporting minors, which is why Michele now makes sure to ask any potential passenger for their age. Uber also gives her the right to refuse a ride to anyone who appears to be underage without explanation, and without penalizing her for the cancellation.
Good news for the driver, bad news for parents like me who are just looking for a little help. Uber did reveal that they're working on a potential ride sharing program for teenagers. But while they've tested it in three markets they are still waiting for the results.
What do you think—would you let your kids use it? Let us know in the comments.