LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Bobby Thomas has been driving for Uber and Lyft for three years. He said every year when school starts, so does the same problem.
“You get a lot of parents wanting you to take their kids to school or pick them up from school and bring them home or take them to school,” he said.
The problem? Uber and Lyft policy doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to ride unaccompanied without the adult account holder.
While everyone is required to accept each company’s terms and conditions before they ride, Thomas said many people don’t read them. He believes that’s why he has to refuse rides for kids and teens multiple times every week.
He said sometimes the problem is the kids and teens who make accounts and lie about their age, while other times, it’s the parents scheduling the rides for their kids.
“They will download the app and they will say they’re 18,” he said. “They want a ride to a friend’s house or a movie or shopping center and they use their account.”
He said he now checks IDs before giving rides.
Darlene Brown has also been driving for Uber and Lyft for three years. She said that she has the same issues.
“The more popular Uber and Lyft have become, it’s gotten progressively worse,” she said.
She said she sees the most issues with parents scheduling the rides for their kids.
“The youngest child I have had try to ride was an 8-year-old boy,” said Brown. “It amazes me how people can take these young children and put them in a car with strangers.”
Brown said when she arrives to a location and sees a kid or a teenager, she is forced to turn down the drive.
“I always ask for ID and I ask to speak to the parent because I need to inform them I can’t take the kids,” she said. “I can’t just pull away and leave the kid standing there.”
She said that her mission is to educate parents and young people about Uber and Lyft policies for the safety of kids, teens, and the Uber and Lyft drivers.
“I love kids and I know they’d be safe with me but unfortunately there’s nothing that covers me to take the children and it’s against policy,” she said. “I can’t risk losing my ability to drive for Uber and Lyft.”
There are some apps that are working to provide safe rides for kids and teens. An emerging app is called Hop, Skip, Drive. It is only available in select markets and Arkansas is not one of them.