The freedom provided by a car is something most teenagers crave, and with Lyft and Uber some don’t even need to wait for a license of their own.
Recently, some parents began noticing strange charges to their accounts after their children downloaded the ridesharing apps to their smartphones. In an interview with WFAA8 News, one parent in North Texas said that they caught their children sneaking out late at night two times. According to her, the first driver to show up worked for Uber, and the second time a Lyft driver showed up to pick up her children.
"I asked them then why did they pick up a car full of six 14-year-olds," the mother told WFAA8 News. "It's very concerning to me that they are picking up these kids at whatever time, but especially at 2 something in the morning that that would not alert somebody that's a grown adult, should I be picking up these kids at 2 in the morning?"
Both company’s policies state that children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult to be picked up by a driver, but according to one driver who worked for both Lyft and Uber in the past two years this policy isn’t clearly conveyed to the drivers.
"They didn't communicate to me when I signed up," the driver said. "There was nothing."
The driver said that since he found out about the rule on his own, he has denied rides to a number of teenagers. However, that rarely stopped the young riders from catching a ride.
"But then I'd sit and watch the next Uber driver come up and pick those kids up and take them off."
After discovering the surprising charges to her PayPal account, the mother from North Texas reached out to Lyft to ask why they picked up her children, despite the fact that the company’s policy forbid the practice. According to her, Lyft informed her that they were not authorized to release that information.
This issue becomes even more worrying when you tie in the recent lawsuit Sarah Milburn and her attorney, Charla Aldous, filed against Uber after Milburn’s driver ran a red light and was stuck by another vehicle, leaving Milburn a quadriplegic. During the investigation after the crash, it turned out that the driver wasn’t registered properly, and wasn’t even permitted to drive. According to Aldous, quality control is a major issue for the company.
"Uber doesn't have direct contact with the drivers," said Aldous. "They insulate themselves from the hiring process so they can say if something like Sarah's accident happens, they can say 'oh, it's not our responsibility."