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A 12-Year-Old Died After Taking An Uber Alone. Drivers Say They Can’t Afford To Reject Kids. [BuzzFeed]

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TonyAlmeida
1134 Rider
 Posted 4 months ago

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It's difficult enough to be asking the awkward question of asking for IDs and potentially saying no (and sometimes getting dinged with negative ratings.  What if your bottom line also depended on it. This is the saddest thing..

"They will say, 'Well, no, we don't want you to do that,' but in fact, the way that they handle all their bonuses and rewards, that’s exactly what they’re doing," one driver said.

An Uber driver arrives at an address to pick up a passenger, only to find out the person requesting the ride is a child alone.

It happens all the time across the US even though it is against the ride-hailing company's terms of service.

Uber requires all account holders to be at least 18 years old and explicitly prohibits children from riding without an adult. But as news that a 12-year-old died by suicide after taking an Uber by herself showed, the policy hasn't deterred parents and kids from using the service or prevented drivers from transporting them anyway.

There is obviously a painful misalignment and conflict of interest.

"It's painful to pass on rides," said Jeff Byrnes, a former Uber driver based in Southern California. "You get a strong surge and you pull up and it's a minor. Most drivers are not going to turn that down, largely because they can’t afford to."

Current and former drivers told BuzzFeed News that Uber, instead of encouraging drivers to reject ride requests for children, incentivizes them to accept all rides regardless of whether they're against the app's policies. Those incentives come in the form of bonus pay and surge pricing, along with penalties for drivers w...

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It's difficult enough to be asking the awkward question of asking for IDs and potentially saying no (and sometimes getting dinged with negative ratings.  What if your bottom line also depended on it. This is the saddest thing..

"They will say, 'Well, no, we don't want you to do that,' but in fact, the way that they handle all their bonuses and rewards, that’s exactly what they’re doing," one driver said.

An Uber driver arrives at an address to pick up a passenger, only to find out the person requesting the ride is a child alone.

It happens all the time across the US even though it is against the ride-hailing company's terms of service.

Uber requires all account holders to be at least 18 years old and explicitly prohibits children from riding without an adult. But as news that a 12-year-old died by suicide after taking an Uber by herself showed, the policy hasn't deterred parents and kids from using the service or prevented drivers from transporting them anyway.

There is obviously a painful misalignment and conflict of interest.

"It's painful to pass on rides," said Jeff Byrnes, a former Uber driver based in Southern California. "You get a strong surge and you pull up and it's a minor. Most drivers are not going to turn that down, largely because they can’t afford to."

Current and former drivers told BuzzFeed News that Uber, instead of encouraging drivers to reject ride requests for children, incentivizes them to accept all rides regardless of whether they're against the app's policies. Those incentives come in the form of bonus pay and surge pricing, along with penalties for drivers who cancel or accept fewer rides.

Look at the bind drivers are in.

"They punish you if you reject rides with minors, if you reject rides with infants without car seats, if you reject rides with too many passengers," said Dave F., who drives part time for Uber in the Chicago area. "They will say, 'Well, no, we don't want you to do that,' but in fact, the way that they handle all their bonuses and rewards, that’s exactly what they’re doing."

Occasionally, Uber offers drivers a consecutive-ride bonus, which rewards them with extra pay if they accept three rides in a row, but if drivers cancel for reasons including an unaccompanied minor, they miss out on the additional money, said Dave, who asked that his last name not be published for fear of retaliation from his employers.

Canceling a ride can also negatively impact drivers' cancellation rates, which they need to keep to a minimum in order to continue receiving rewards. As their wages have decreased, drivers have become more reliant on these rewards programs.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/skbaer/uber-drivers-incentivized-kids-pay-benita-diamond

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    Buddy8428
    1 Rider Driver
     3 weeks ago

    Lyft drivers--- yes you can afford to reject minors because I report all attempted rides of minors, and Lyft gives me the cancellation fee for each one. It is unreasonable to pin this problem on Lyft policy because it's the parents who hold the account and masquerade as if its themselves taking the ride. One thing Lyft could do is not make it so difficult to make the report. (No, they do not have a button for minor when you go to cancel, but they should.)

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    momof4
    8100 Rider Driver
     4 months ago

    Uber and Lyft do nothing to prevent minors from signing up on the app. If they made people use valid government issued ID's maybe it would help cut down on the amt. of minors on the platform. Uber and Lyft should start charging the accounts of the minor or the parent with no car seat a fee. 1st offense $20, 2nd offense $30 and so on. That money should go to the driver for wasting their time and costing them money. I guarantee after a few charges they will stop requesting rides. Parents need to stop ordering rides for young children. What the hell are they thinking putting kids as young as 7 yrs old in a car with a stranger by themselves? What is wrong with the parents that want to get a ride with their young child and no car safety seat? Definately parents out there that are careless and neglectful.

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      Uberserge
      1157 Rider Driver
       4 months ago

      There are apps for kids like Zum and Hop, skip and drive but they're a lot more expensive than uber and Lyft hence parents use them. Like you said what kind of parent would trust their child to be in a car with a total stranger? Unbelievable!

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    RedANT
    1069 Rider Driver
     4 months ago

    The rideshare companies need to enforce their rules regarding unaccompanied minors and car seats, and they need to properly compensate drivers for their wasted time to give drivers an incentive to actually report such violations.  

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      BiggestBallOfYawn
      36 Rider
       4 months ago

      What about compensating then for the trip to pick up these people. And maybe have the cost be charged back to these to-be riders. 

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        Uberserge
        1157 Rider Driver
         4 months ago

        Good luck on that, Uber and Lyft won't hurt the goose that lays the golden egg, the passengers. The driver on the other hand is expendable like a sock with a hole in it. 😆

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          BiggestBallOfYawn
          36 Rider
           4 months ago

          And I’m sure Uber will cut is open when they get desperate. 

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    wraiththe
    194 Driver
     4 months ago

    I hate this too, but both apps, (I know Uber does for sure) have an option under the cancel reasons for an "unaccompanied Minor."    I have even received cancellation fees last week for this.  
    Yes this is a problem parents complain that other uber drivers do it. I will not. I have been told the insurance may not cover the minor in the event of an accident. I will not give an unaccompanied minor a ride for this very purpose with ONE exception: If the minor is in an environment I consider to be dangerous to leave them alone in... I will give the ride and I will make sure my cameras are on and save all recordings for that trip. I will also drive even more careful than normal. This comes into play after leaving a young girl at the edge of her school and it was starting to get dark. I thought, what if that was my daughter.... and it bothered me. That type of situation has not come up. No rides for unaccompanied minors... That being said... I...

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    I hate this too, but both apps, (I know Uber does for sure) have an option under the cancel reasons for an "unaccompanied Minor."    I have even received cancellation fees last week for this.  
    Yes this is a problem parents complain that other uber drivers do it. I will not. I have been told the insurance may not cover the minor in the event of an accident. I will not give an unaccompanied minor a ride for this very purpose with ONE exception: If the minor is in an environment I consider to be dangerous to leave them alone in... I will give the ride and I will make sure my cameras are on and save all recordings for that trip. I will also drive even more careful than normal. This comes into play after leaving a young girl at the edge of her school and it was starting to get dark. I thought, what if that was my daughter.... and it bothered me. That type of situation has not come up. No rides for unaccompanied minors... That being said... If the policy changed and they were to allow it (hopefully vetting the drivers and doing background checks.) I would be happy to do it... as long as my dashcams are running.

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      Uberserge
      1157 Rider Driver
       4 months ago

      In my state of CA dashcam are a rarity due to its complex legal structure. The cancel and explain option showed up on the Uber driver app only a couple of months ago. Rides with minors are always short rides, JUST SAY NO! There are apps to handle that now, like ZUM and Hop Skip & Drive.