No Minor Issue

no-under-18Advances in technology has created opportunities for people like me to sustain a reasonable living while in between jobs or as a new career.  It has also provided opportunities of freedom by providing ride share experiences from running errands to hanging out with friends without the worry of driving while intoxicated.  As a result, children under the age of 18 have been using Lyft and Uber to get where they want to go which leaves parents out of the equation, or so they thought.  The problem is that both Uber and Lyft have policies in place essentially banning anyone under 18 from riding unless there is an adult (someone 18 or older) riding with them.

Last weekend, I seemed to get a ride request from minors every other request in the West San Fernando Valley.  One of those calls was for a young girl who told me she was 13.  No, that is not a typo, she was 13 and out running the streets around midnight. Another was a 15 year old in West Los Angeles who was so mad, he slammed my door. As a mother, I don’t like saying no to children, but since my livelihood is at stake, I must follow the company policies.

So why do these rules exist?  I reached out to both Lyft and Uber and so far, I only got a response from Lyft.  Here is part of the response:

“You see at Lyft, safety is our top priority. If the passenger is underage and it a part of the policy to not travel with minors alone, you might be at risk of having your driver account deactivated.

“So we have these policies set in place to ensure the right thing is being done with all the drivers. Also even with the insurance, your vehicle has to be fit and approved for the Lyft community.

“If you do carry a minor alone, you might be at risk of having your account deactivated and we don’t want that for you.

“We put these policies in place to prevent bad experiences and to upLyft the company name.

“If these were not set the Community would be full of disorder and we want it to be very comfortable for the members.”

Many of the children are using parent’s accounts bypassing the age requirement.  As a Ride share driver, it is important to be diligent and start refusing rides to minors.  Also, report back to Lyft when you do encounter them so they can monitor the accounts and make sure we are not picking up children who are not accompanied by an adult.

Rider’s profile pictures may not always tell their age.  I got a request at a high school but the photo was of a grown man.  I assumed it was someone who worked at the school, turned out it was the father of a cheerleader.  I knew this before arriving because he called me to let me know. In this situation, let the person know the policy so they are prepared to make other arrangements if needed.

Another case was a profile picture where the rider looked about 17.  At the time the picture was taken, she was.  That was 10 years ago.  Based on the picture, I almost did not accept the ride.

Drivers, we are the eyes and ears on the street. Let’s represent the company in the best possible light and make sure we are following policy. Remember, the company will deactivate you if you are found to ignore the policy and continue to pick up minors.

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