When Uber launched in 2009, the company probably didn’t envision that parents would eagerly be using its services to get their kids home from soccer practice and dance class.
But a growing number of families are doing just that, the Washington Post reports.
Busy parents who don’t have time to schlep their kids back and forth from rehearsals, sports games, and dance classes are using Uber to easily get their kids from point A to point B.
You don’t have to worry about your child exchanging cash with the driver since all payments are done automatically through the app.
Uber’s drivers do take a background check before they can drive for the company. Legislators recently asked Uber and other companies to step up those background checks to include fingerprint checks — a process that taxi companies already go through.
In the wake of a number of reports of passenger sexual assault — both domestically and abroad — at the hands of Uber drivers, safety is a factor parents need to consider. But the parents who the Post spoke with say that since the whole process is done through the Uber app on parents’ phones, there’s a feeling of security about tracking your child on the GPS and watching as they go from place to place.
“The Company cares about the safety of children. Because our Services are not directed toward minors, no one under 18 (and certainly no children under 13) are allowed to register with or use the Services. We do not knowingly collect personal information from anyone under the age of 18. If we discover that we have collected personal information from a person under 18, we will delete that information immediately. If you are a parent or guardian of a minor under the age of eighteen (18) and believe he or she has disclosed Personal Information to us, please contact us at [email protected]”
But drivers still seem unsure about whether or not they should pick up kids whose parents hail an Uber for them. On UberPeople, a forum for ridesharing and ride-hailing drivers, a discussion erupted around the topic of picking up passengers who are minors.
Some of these drivers still think it’s in their best interest to pick up kids even though it violates Uber’s rules.
If drivers decline enough riders, they can eventually be deactivated from Uber and no longer allowed to drive for the service.
Uber recently launched a service for parents riding in an Uber vehicle with children called UberFamily, which lets parents hail cars that have car seats for kids and tablets to keep them occupied during the trip.
In the wake of this emerging alternate use-case of Uber, it’s no surprise to see startups catering specifically to parents who need to get their kids from place to place. Shuddle, a startup that relies on a system of drivers who pass a number of background checks, is one of these companies. Shuddle, which has raised $US2.6 million in seed funding, is insured to transport kids, and also provides transportation services for seniors.
We’ve reached out to Uber for comment and will update this post when the company responds.
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