Town Square

Post a New Topic

Teens and Uber

Original post made by Uber, Teens and Drugs, Barron Park, on Mar 29, 2015

It seems that Palo Alto teens under 16 y.o. are using Uber cars to go off campus to use drugs during school hours and travel to parties where drugs and alcohol are served, all without needing to notify their parents. Is there a way to prevent Uber from transporting minors without parent permission? I'm really fed up with this situation.

Comments (36)

Posted by FB
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2015 at 7:23 pm

My daughter (who is 14) said that Uber sent her a free trip pass through FB. Sounds like Uber may be deliberately trying to lure teens.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm

How are they paying the Uber? Take away their payment cards. How are they calling the Uber? Take back their cell phones. Call the parents of their friends and ask them not to fund Uber rides for your child.

Posted by get real
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Is it reasonable for teens today not to have cell phones or allowances? OTOH Uber wants to maximize its profits, and the not-yet-driving teen market in Palo Alto is apparently a good one.

Posted by Marlen
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 29, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Honey, if your kid is ditching school to get high I don't think uber is the root of your problems...

Posted by Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2015 at 10:01 pm

"Is it reasonable for teens today not to have cell phones or allowances?" (Quoted from above)

Yes, especially if said cell phones and allowances are being used to procure drugs. Don't expect profit-maximizing Uber to be your kids' nanny. It's called parenting.

Posted by Stay-at-home Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Uber can only work if there is a credit card on file, so don't allow any credit card on their account.

It's too unreasonable to take away their cell phones.

Agree with Marlen, that the teens' needs to be addressed if they are turning to drugs and alcohol - they are trying to escape their lives. The parents need to wake-up and nurture instead of punish, help their lives instead of criticizing. I'm guessing what is in play is either parents who are too permissive or too critical, demanding, and strict. This behavior doesn't happen to children who have parents who are nurturing and engaged in their children's lives. Kids who feel respected don't rebel or act-out. Just because they can wipe their own a**es, doesn't mean they should be ignored. Remember them when they were the young, innocent babies and know that they are still young and innocent. Start caring - it's never too late - children always want the respect of their parents.

Posted by C
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2015 at 11:35 pm

I used Uber at age 17 to get around San Francisco to get to museums and whatnot because their cab system was (and is) lacking. I don't see how it's Uber's fault that your kid is drinking -- if they'd taken a cab or had a friend drive them, wouldn't that be the same thing (or worse)?

How is this Uber's fault?

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2015 at 8:43 am

@ Marlen: You made my day!

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 30, 2015 at 9:09 am

Hmmm, I personally know of one family which uses a taxi when Mom is too busy at work to pick up child from school. This family considers a taxi much more safe than allowing child (read teenager) to walk home from school alone.

Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

How is Uber regulated in Palo Alto? If the company is knowingly contributing to the delinquency of minors, the city should be able to ban them, but only if people are complaining to the city and/or the police.

Posted by Call the police
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2015 at 11:02 am

This posting sounds like another attempt to stir outrage over unproven allegations. If Uber, Teens and Drugs has evidence of this, he/she should inform the police. I would like to find out the source of his information.
And I would assume that Uber does not interrogate their customers to find out why they are using the service, so how would they know what their passengers do after they get out of the Uber car.
For those of you who claim to have knowledge of these alleged acts of malfeasance, inform the parents, the school and/or the police
Posting on this forum will not provide any solution for this problem

Posted by no morals
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 30, 2015 at 12:32 pm

15 year-old friends of my daughter hired an Uber car over NYE, drove all over Palo Alto smoking dope and drinking alcohol in the car. They spent lots of $$$, and the driver gave the girls his card so they could call him again. I'm not sure if this was illegal as he didn't know for sure they were underage, but it's certainly amoral IMO.

Posted by Call the police
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2015 at 12:36 pm

no morals--sounds like another whopper. they were smoking dope and had open containers in a car and yiou are wondering if that is illegal. And how exactly does your daughter know? Have you informed the parents and/or the police? What is the purpose of posting on this forum
Sounds like some people have latched onto another "villain"--Uber in this case and are using TSF to bash a business without any real proof.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

I can't link to any NY Times articles now as I've used up my free allotment per month, but I seem to recall a recent story on their website about wealthy parents in NYC discussing some concerns using Uber to shuttle their underage kids about, even though this is supposedly against Uber's policy. I don't know about the local situation, but it seems some oversight or controls should be in place if minors are involved as riders with parents as customers or riders/customers.

Posted by I have a car
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Uber is not a nanny, it is not a parent, it is not a baby-sitter. It is a transportation service, which you pay to take you from one place to another. If you have an issue with your kid acting out of control, you need to look to your home turf, and not lay the blame elsewhere.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2015 at 1:07 pm

On a related note, I always encouraged my kids (who are now young adults) to NOT get a fake I.D. - just resist that even if peers do it. I wonder how many Palo Alto teens are getting fake I.D.s which may make it easier to hire an Uber?I just doubt a driver would scrutinize someone's I.D....

Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Kids under 18 can't have Uber accounts, their parents have to sign up for them. And I think Uber notifies the account holder of pick ups and drop offs so if your kid is using Uber during school hours, you would know.

Posted by cash
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 30, 2015 at 2:19 pm

My son said his friend paid cash for their Uber ride. They went to the wrong address (friend's not Uber driver's fault) and needed to walk home (from MV to North PA) because they had no more cash. Is this possible? Someone wrote that Uber drivers require a CC.

Posted by We wait until tragedy
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 30, 2015 at 2:27 pm

When the first minor gets accosted in one of these Uber cars, then someone will pay attention. For now, we wait for the terrible inevitable

Posted by Reality
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Some facts:
1 - You can't use cash with Uber, Lyft, or any of the other services.
2 - You don't use a credit card, payment is through the app.
3 - The drivers rate their passengers and the passengers rate the drivers through the app.

So there are a lot of whoppers, or at least third- or fourth-hand stories being told on this forum. In addition, since the drivers use their own cars, I can't imagine any of them tolerating kids (of adults) doing dope or drinking during a ride; the cost of any problems would be too high.

Posted by free passes
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm

If Uber is sending free passes to minors via FB, would they be allowed to use those passes without a parent's permission??

Posted by Reality 2.0
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2015 at 11:20 am

@Reality correct save for #2. You do pay in app, but the payment in app is tied to a CC on file. Thus you pay through the app through a credit card. Just want to clarify that.

Posted by This is a test
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Has your younger-than-16-year-old student established his/her own credit rating? Because having a credit card that you don't know about would be the ONLY way they could use Uber. Otherwise we'll just have to assume that the card they use is yours. Who's in charge here?

Posted by free rides
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Turns out Uber has a $30 off special for new rides. Kids are setting up accounts and Uber drivers seem happy to drive them wherever they want for free. Note to parents: don't give your kid a debit card if you want to avoid this.

Posted by Questionable
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm

I know a woman who is doing independent study at SU. She has two minor children, and she is divorced. The children have no caretaker after school, so this mother, who is independently wealthy, arranges Uber rides for her two kids to and from all of their activities.

I just don't know what to think of this--the mother does not work, just goes to school part-time and then studies at home. Can this be legal? The boy is ten, the girl thirteen.

Posted by permission
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm

What upsets me is that Uber doesn't require parental permission, just a credit card. If a parent gives a child a debit card, rather than cash, this allows much better control over spending. OTOH, teens can then sign up for Uber and use the free trips to go wherever they want without notifying their parents. Parents using Uber to chauffeur minors is somewhat different.

Posted by How?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm

How would Uber enforce parental permission? If the kids have access to the payment source, it seems the parents have already given them financial freedom.

This is not on Uber, this is a parenting issue.

If you can't trust your kids, don't give them financial freedom.

Posted by Stay-at-home Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm

I think parents are embarrassed that their children are so rebellious and they know it's due to their deficient parenting so they find others to blame instead of accepting the truth. Children who have been raised with parents who respect them are kids who respect their parents and will want to please them.

Posted by debit vs credit
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm

A debit card is not a credit card: it can only be used for purchases if a parent adds money to the card. In this way, it's safer than giving cash to a child. OTOH, if Uber is giving kids free rides, kids can use a debit card with no money on it to "pay." Is it legal for Uber drivers to be transporting minors?

Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:39 am

I went to Paly Class of '77. We just smoked weed on campus.

Posted by How?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:58 am

Studies show that most people's personalities are primarily determined by nature, before they are born. Yes, parenting styles have an impact, but it is not necessarily the fault of the parents if a kid has a tendency to get into trouble and rebel. We need to let go of that fallacy and realize parents of troubled teens need support, not judgment.

Parents who have troubled kids need to be extra vigilant and manage their options, whether or not if that is what other parents are doing with their kids.

Uber is in the business of providing rides for payment. There is nothing inherently wrong with under-age kids getting a ride somewhere if their parents have set them up with an account with which to pay.

That said, I do believe it is wrong for Uber to be soliciting kids (under 18) for free rides. It should be illegal for any business to solicit kids under 18. If that is not already a law, it should be one, pronto!

Posted by SkylineMom
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2016 at 12:35 am

how do i get uber to stop dropping underage kids at my home? why does uber think i want them or accept them at my home? my daughter is not allowed to hang out with certain people and that's my parenting decision...what do i do if uber just drops them off at my home with no invitation from me? why should my family be responsible for them?

Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 1, 2016 at 12:41 am

If they rode their bicycle to your house would you call Schwinn to complain? Call their parents, or just kick them off your property. You aren't responsible for them.

Posted by SkylineMom
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2016 at 12:14 pm

yes i am if they are on my property - and why would you fight my reply... do you work for uber? Schwinn? If they were a passenger on a bike driven by a hired bike driver and the bike driver was contracted by a company that happens to be named Schwinn, your analogy would be somewhat entertaining. But it's not called Schwinn, it's called Uber, so your contribution was of no value. My question still stands... thank you.

Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

@skyline mom - are you home when these kids are dropped off? If so, send them home in another Uber (at their expense). If you are not home, tell your daughter to simply not answer the door. It's not Uber's fault anymore than it would be if a taxi dropped them or they drove themselves.

Posted by Good Mom - Troubled Kid
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

There is nothing we can do to stop kids from taking Uber and Lyft. If they can't use their debit or credit card, they will use their friend's. They open a new account every time they get a ride to get a discount and Uber & Lyft don't care if it's the same debit/credit card. Kids will eventually get smart and take an old fashioned taxi and there is nothing parents can do about it. Uber and Lyft's own policy about unaccompanied minors is not enforceable. The only thing I can think of is parents should not let their friend's kids hanging out at their house take Uber and Lyft "home." Don't drink or be high while they are in your house. Instead, stay sober and insist on driving them home yourself. It's a community problem.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

How quickly will we electrify our homes?
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,932 views

Sulbing Cafe brings internationally popular shaved ice dessert to Santa Clara
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 1,772 views

Everything Falls – Lessons in Souffle
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,625 views