Uber’s teen driving service arrives in Phoenix

Self-driving cars are no longer the only service that Uber Technologies Inc. is testing out in the Phoenix area. The once 18-and-over San Francisco-based driving company is introducing their new teen driving service to the Valley.  Now people ages 13 to 17 can get a safe and reliable ride with Uber’s teen driving program.

Before this service was created, Uber had the long-standing rule that anyone under the age of 18 had to be accompanied by a parent in order to ride with the company. Now teens can get from A to B without having to rely on their parents. The company announced last Thursday that this teen service is being piloted in just 3 cities across the country: Seattle, WA, Columbus, OH, and of course, Phoenix.

Parents understand that it is impossible to be in two places at once; and even when they would like to, they can’t always be there to take their kids to work or soccer practice. Uber’s teen driving service allows parents to be with their kids every step of the way: from the ride request, all the way to the front door.

Michael Lu, Uber’s senior product manager from their Seattle office, says, “We spent the past year talking to hundreds of parents. Teens have clubs, sports, and jobs and need a way to get there. For parents, it’s tough to drive them everywhere because they’re super busy too. This is a convenient way to help teens get to where they want to be, and safely.”

Teens can request their own rides with the Uber app, but only parents can set up a family account with Uber. There is a two-dollar booking free to use this service, which is a small price to pay for convenience. This linked account allows the teen to use their parent’s account to pay for the ride, while the parent stays notified on the whereabouts of their child. The live-tracking feature allows parents to watch the trip that their child is on, without having to wonder where they’re going or whether they made it to the car safely. Parents are even able to text or call their child’s driver with any questions they may have.

The family account is linked with the same payment information, so the teens do not need to worry about carrying any money of their own. Parents will be able to see the charged trips right on their app, and they will get a receipt with full details from the ride every time.

With the new program, parents now have total peace-of-mind knowing that their teens are in safe hands and being driven with care. Not every driver is eligible to be a part of the teen driving service. Only top-rated, experienced drivers are given the option to pick up and drive teens.

Michael Lu spoke on this in his press release and stated that “all drivers already go through a background check and motor vehicle records check, but drivers picking up teens will have to do real-time, random ID checks to make sure the person picking up the teen is the person signed up to be the right Uber driver.”

Uber’s teen driving service introduces a safe and reliable way for teens to get where they need to go. Families and teens across the Valley have diverse needs, and this program is sure to make their lives a whole lot easier. Michael Lu stated in the press release that Uber is “focused on learning and making sure [they] are helping families.” He said that he is unsure how long the pilot program will last, but that the program will expand past the three cities if proven successful.

Katherine Sorensen

Author: Katherine Sorensen

Katherine is a writer who holds a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University and works for Coplex, a local startup studio. In her spare time, Katherine can be found writing poetry, reading graphic novels, and watching Friends on Netflix for the 8th time in a row.

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