If your teenagers' schedules are as busy as mine, you know the pain of a triple-booked calendar. Teens who are under 18 have technically been banned from using popular ride-sharing services like Uber, and there's always the risk they'll be turned down for a pick-up if you opt to skirt the rules (not that I would know anything about that). But take heart, Seattle parents: Your after-school carpool schedule is about to get a whole lot easier.
Beginning today, Uber launched the option for teenagers (ages 13 to 17) to create their own accounts via Family Profiles in three cities: Phoenix, Columbus and Seattle. What that means for parents is that teens can now create their own accounts via Family Profiles to order rides.
Teens still can't create their own Uber accounts (technically). If parents want to let them use Uber Family, they'll need to go into their own Uber accounts and create a family profile. Then they can add their teenagers to their family account. Their teens will receive an invitation to join their new family profile.
Once teens have accepted that invitation, they will be able to access a teen Uber account that looks and feels like a standard Uber account (except for an additional $2 booking fee per ride). The account provides parents with ride tracking, details about the car their teen is driving in and an exact location for up to 20 minutes after the end of each ride including a notification if the teen is dropped off more than 1,000 meters away from his or her expected destination.
Parents are notified whenever a teen requests a ride and can also contact their teen's Uber drivers if they need to reach him or her in a pinch — all safety features that are likely top of mind for parents as less than glowing news of Uber continues to make headlines.
Uber says they put their teen account drivers through an extra layer of security screening, only allowing drivers who have received consistently high community ratings and who have long-term experience with Uber to pick up teen riders. All drivers undergo driving record and criminal history background checks, adds Uber.
Uber Family product manager Mike Lu says the service came about in response to requests from parents. "For many parents, balancing work and their family’s hectic schedules is tough. It involves constant activity juggling," he says. "We think this [program] will enable teens to get wherever they need to be on time while saving parents added time in the car and in traffic, and ultimately help everyone get more from their day."
As every parent knows, the less time spent in traffic the better.