Uber will now let parents take their teenage kids on rides alone | CNN Business
Uber is rolling out new features to make it easier for people of all ages to access its ride-hailing service, including an option that will allow teens under 18 to ride alone for the first time.
At its annual product event on Wednesday, Uber unveiled a new Teen Accounts feature, which lets parents and caregivers book rides for their kids, if they’re between the ages of 13 and 17, and then control them from remotely via the app.
The new option will launch on May 22 in more than a dozen metro areas in the United States and Canada, including New York City, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, with plans to roll out to more cities in the next weeks and months.
Previously, those under the age of 18 could not use Uber without being accompanied in the car by an adult.
Uber’s move comes at a time when tech companies, and social media companies in particular, are increasingly under scrutiny for the impact their products can have on teenagers.
At Wednesday’s event, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi framed the option as helping families “manage the craziness” of juggling their children and emphasized the safety features of the company to ensure that “parents can have peace of mind”.
The new accounts include a unique PIN number that teens will have to give their driver before boarding and audio recording in the ride app. A live ride tracking feature also allows parents to follow the progress of rides via the Uber app. And parents can contact the driver directly during the ride, as well as contact Uber’s support team.
Khosrowshahi also said that “only experienced and highly qualified drivers will be eligible to complete trips with teenagers.”
Uber said it consulted with Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping children safe, in developing the teen account offering.
Uber also said Wednesday it will launch a nationwide phone number so anyone without the app can use its service, a move likely aimed at helping older Americans who may not be used to navigating the a smart phone.
Starting Wednesday, customers in the United States can now dial 1-833-USE-UBER (1-833-873-8237), a toll-free number, to speak with an agent in English or Spanish and request a ride under demand or reservation. one for a future trip.
Uber has posted strong growth in recent quarters, defying a slump that has hit much of the tech sector in recent months. Uber’s business, which diversified into meal delivery services before the pandemic, has also fared better so far in recovering from health crises than its main US rival, Lyft.