Uber Is Launching a Ride Service for Teens

Uber for teens comes with plenty of safety features parents will want to know about.

By: Amanda Mushro
Happy teenage girl driving friends riding in back seat, using smart phone in car with sunroof

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Happy teenage girl driving friends riding in back seat, using smart phone in car with sunroof

Photo by: Hero Images Inc

Hero Images Inc

For parents of teens, juggling their busy schedules with your own schedule can be tricky. So, until parents can figure out how to be in two places at one time (talk about the ultimate parenting hack), there may be an easier way to get your kids to and from their activities, school, and any other place they need to be.

Uber, the popular rideshare company, is rolling out Uber Teen — a rideshare service geared towards kids ages 13-17. Previously, those under the age of 18 were not allowed to use Uber without being accompanied in the car by an adult. Uber Teen allows parents and guardians to create a family profile and add teenage riders to their Uber accounts. With the new family profile, teens can request their own Uber and parents will be notified immediately or parents can request a ride for their teens.

While this may sound simple enough, parents are left with a lot of questions. Who is driving the car? How will I know the driver will show up? Is this even safe? For parents who may have safety concerns, Uber says they’ve been developing this service with the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide to ensure kids are safe and parents feel confident allowing their children to use Uber Teen.

"There are some nonnegotiables as they roll out this platform of making sure kids buckle up every ride, every time," Safe Kids Worldwide President Torine Creppy said to ABC news.

Some of the safety measures that are in place for teenage riders are background checks on every driver. Drivers will have to present background checks that cover motor vehicle records and criminal offenses at the local, state, and federal levels. Plus, drivers will automatically need to be re-screened every year to continue being a part of this program. Uber also said they will only select tenured drivers with high ratings to take part in the teen services.

To avoid any confusion during pickup, drivers are required to ask the teens for a pin number at the start of a ride to make sure kids are getting into the correct vehicle.

Another feature that parents will like: When using the Uber app, parents can track their teen's trip in real time — and if they have any concerns, they can contact the Uber driver before, during, and after the trip, or parents can contact Uber's support team on behalf of their teen. Uber also says that parents can listen in on the ride because there will be an encrypted audio recording of the entire trip. If anything were to happen, Uber and parents can access that audio recordings.

The company says all of these features will be automatically turned on for teen accounts and cannot be turned off. Also, teens can only book rides that start and stop in the same city they live in.

The new Uber Teen has already started in more than a dozen metro areas in the United States and Canada. Parents in cities including New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston can start booking trips for their teens. Uber says they have plans to launch the service in more cities in the coming weeks and months.

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