There have been a handful of instances in the news where drivers have been getting caught transporting unaccompanied minors. A while back, a kid took an uber over 300 miles from South Carolina to Georgia and in another situation a minor called a ride intending to commit suicide. While cases this extreme are rare, the problems with unaccompanied minors are not. One problem that drivers in Grand Rapids often notice is minors during the morning commute. It is exceedingly common for parents here to call a ride for their children, without the intent of accompanying them to school. It truly amazes us at GR Rideshare that parents are this irresponsible; putting your child in the car with a stranger is amazingly stupid.
The most frustrating part of this interaction is when you tell a parent, “no” and they say, “well the driver yesterday did it”. There is no reasoning with parents after other drivers have broken the rules, it always ends negatively. Either driver time is wasted, or parents get agitated and loud with us. Regardless of how people react, either parents or minor passengers, as a driver it is your responsibility to turn these rides down every time.
Uber makes it clear in their TOS that transporting anyone under the age of 18 without another 18+ adult in the car is a violation of their agreement. While many drivers claim it is not their responsibility to verify age, it is. You are the one on the hook for deactivation, or worse, if you are caught transporting a minor. One understandable frustration many of us have is that Uber does not do anything to prevent minors from hailing rides. Uber does not verify the age of account owners or ban accounts of parents who call rides for their kids. Even if they did ban accounts, Uber would have to have a system in place to keep people from just making new accounts.
At the end of the day, it is, and always will be, on the driver to act responsibility. Follow the rules, suck it up, and wait your five and drive EVERY single time an unaccompanied minor shows up. Don’t put yourself on the line and face the negative consequences of taking a minor. Uber won’t be on your side.
One part of becoming an Uber driver that we had never considered when signing up was the propensity of Uber scams. These scams can include phone calls from “support”, texts from riders whose name is “generated”, or passengers asking to borrow your phone. These can all be ways for you to get scammed out of your pay. Not surprisingly, Uber does nothing to help you out in these circumstances. While we understand the desire to help someone out with a dead phone, or no phone at all, the risk should certainly be kept in mind.
Locally in GR we actually had a woman scammed out of her night’s earnings. She was not driving at the time, but wanted to help a ‘kid’ in need of getting home and he pulled money out of her account via cash app. We also see many women on facebook who’ve let passengers use their phone, only to have the passenger change the driver’s bank account info and cash out their earnings.
The scam calls are also worth keeping an eye out for. We’ve heard of many drivers, including Sam’s own mother(!) who have received a call from someone claiming to be Uber support. They are instructed to cancel the ride they are on, and give login details to “protect their accounts”. It’s an old con that won’t end anytime soon.
Lastly, the “generated” rides. When a passenger's name just says “generated” it’s a scam. Just cancel the ride. They will try to message you, telling you to give them your password, but don’t do it.
Uber will never, ever ask you for your password. They don’t need to. Same rules apply for Lyft. Generally support won’t even call without you prompting them to, first; they prefer email. So please keep in mind your account security, because if you get scammed, you are on your own.
Review of the Octopus Tablet for Drivers. This tablet will make you more money while driving for Uber and Lyft.