The transportation service Uber has had a major impact on commuting around town, giving nearly any adult over 21 with a car the ability to use their vehicle as a taxi and earn extra money on the side. It also allows anyone with an account to receive rides without worrying about having cash to pay a driver, since all transactions are done automatically through the app. If one has an account and needs a ride somewhere, it’s not a problem, unless they happen to be under 18.
Uber’s Terms and Conditions strictly state that the service is not meant to be used by minors without an adult present, specifically the adult account owner, and it violates the rules for the account owner to allow another person to use their account without their presence. Uber also requires that riders be a legal adult or accompanied by the adult account holder.
These rules have not stopped minors from using the service, or parents from ordering rides for their children. In fact, many don’t know that this rule exists.
“I don’t know much about their rules. I was unaware of that [policy],” 17-year-old senior Keagan Rechel said.
Rechel uses an Uber account paid for by his parents when he wants to go out with his friends on the weekends. Similar to many Uber users, Rechel did not know about the rules specifying that minors must be accompanied by the holder of the account in the car.
“I don’t know the Uber rules except they track the cars,” sophomore Taylor West said. “I did not know it violates the Uber rules [for minors to ride in the car without an adult]. I don’t think most people do.”
Although the oldest is usually 17, at least one friend always accompanies West.
Many drivers still pick up minors, despite the policy against it and the liability issues it causes. An Uber driver may decline a ride. However, not accepting, or cancelling numerous rides creates the risk of a driver being deactivated from Uber, sometimes with no warning or explanation. Uber is very strict with its drivers. A driver with a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars is at risk of being deactivated, so drivers often choose to take the risk of picking up a minor rather than the risk of being removed from the Uber service.