Teenagers can now use Uber in Vancouver


The worldwide ride-sharing service that revolutionized quick transit is now available for teenagers in Vancouver.

Uber announced it has expanded services to provide rides for teenagers if their accounts are linked with a guardian.

“With a teen account, they’ll have the freedom to request their own rides and you’ll be notified every time they do,” Uber said on its website.

“Plus, with live safety features and real-time updates, you can follow along from pickup to drop off.”

This will include youths between the ages 13 and 17.

Always at the forefront of parents and guardians is teenager safety.

Uber said it has a number of safety features and protocols in place for the safety of its young passengers.

To start, like previously mentioned, an account must be paired with an adult. An audio recording of the entire trip will be automatic for every ride a teenager takes.

Teenager passengers will always be matched with “highly rated and experienced drivers.” All drivers go through numerous background checks and are re-screened every year, Uber said.

All trips are live-tracked and guardians can directly contact authorities through the Uber app, if needed. When teenagers are picked up by their designated drivers, a PIN verification code will be asked to be provided.

A Vancouver-based, international teenager safety program company named Safeteen has some trepidations surrounding the new service.

Safeteen provides life skills to teenagers on how to navigate potentially dangerous situations. It works with more than 25,000 students a year in the Lower Mainland at elementary and secondary schools.

Anita Roberts, Safeteen CEO and founder, said that while Uber’s decision to allow rides for teenagers can have some positive benefits, it can create risks for youths as well.

“We are concerned for youth, as always. The thing is … the world isn’t safe,” Roberts said.

“Predators are out there. (And if a predator is a driver) the driver now knows where the child lives, or goes to school. … Just like online predators, they are all over the place.

“You cannot keep this 100 per cent safe for kids. Uber is not doing this because they care about kid safety, they want to make money.”

Roberts said it’s imperative for parents or guardians to sit down, have a conversation with their teenagers and talk about public safety.

Safeteen urges teenagers to trust their intuition, look out for signs that a person may be a predator, and always stay in contact with a parent or guardian when taking transit.

Another wrinkle to anticipate for parents and guardians is that teenagers will inevitably use the service to get home after a night of underage drinking. Roberts said this can be a good thing but it can also create risks.

She said it’s good that Uber can be a safe ride home, as opposed to getting a ride with a drunk driver. But she said it can also create a risk for teenagers as they can be left more vulnerable when they are intoxicated.

Vancouver is the only city in B.C. that is offering the teenager Uber account service.

Global News has reached out to Uber for comment.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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