Parents accustomed to shuttling kids back and forth from school and extracurricular activities know how time-consuming the process can be, and to save time and sanity lost by sitting in traffic, some wealthy parents are turning to Uber, the Washington Post reports.
There’s just one problem: Giving kids under the age of 18 a ride by themselves is against Uber’s terms of service.
For parents that can afford it, using Uber as a car service for soccer practice or other activities make sense. Thanks to GPS tracking, you’ll know when and where your kid is dropped off.
Of course, putting kids in cars with a stranger isn’t exactly best parenting practices. And it shouldn’t be forgotten that Uber has a history of drivers compromising the safety of riders, with incidences including kidnapping, sexual harassment, and rape.
Uber didn’t respond to a request for comment, but its terms of service make it very clear that people younger than 18 can’t use the Uber app themselves, or through anyone else.
The Service is not available for use by persons under the age of 18.
You may not authorize third parties to use your Account, and you may not allow persons under the age of 18 to receive transportation or logistics services from Third Party Providers unless they are accompanied by you. You may not assign or otherwise transfer your Account to any other person or entity.
Uber introduced expanded background checks in February 2014 that included federal and county background checks for U.S.-based drivers. The company, along with other on-demand car services like Lyft and Sidecar, don’t use fingerprint background checks required by taxicab companies.
There are some other options for parents. Startups are recognizing the convenience services like Uber bring to parents, but want to provide safer shuttle services parents can trust that explicitly welcome minors.
Shuddle is a car service specifically geared towards parents who have responsibilities to drive kids and seniors, but might not be able to be in multiple places at once. The San Francisco-based company requires people to pay a $9-per-month fee, plus the cost of each ride. Drivers go through extensive background checks, employment references, face-to-face interviews, and in-person training programs. The company hires childcare experts as drivers, like nannies, teachers, and counselors.
It’s unclear how Uber enforces their terms of service and ban kids from taking rides, but clearly parents are taking advantage of the service and putting their underage kids in cars serving as on-demand shuttles.
H/T Washington Post | Illustration by Max Fleishman