Whether it’s soccer practice, a ride to school, or a slumber party, CBS 2 found parents using their Uber and Lyft accounts to get their kids from point a to point b. But that is against the companies’ policies, and an incident Wednesday morning in Old Town highlights how dangerous it can be.
Chicago police detectives are investigating an incident involving a Lyft driver and two elementary-aged children a parent called a ride for. Both children ended up fleeing the car. They are OK.
Police say the Lyft was ordered to take a girl and boy to two elementary schools Wednesday morning when there was some confusion about their destination.
Police say, “The Lyft driver attempted to drop off the male juvenile, ignoring the destination of the female juvenile’s school … Both juveniles then fled into the elementary school to notify a parent.”
It’s unclear what the driver’s intentions were, and police are investigating. Lyft is also looking into it, saying it’s deactivating the driver while that is done.
“The community needs to understand that children cannot be placed in the back of the cars with strangers,” legal ride-share attorney Bryant Greening said.
What happened here highlights what’s become a very common problem in Chicago.
“We are hearing on a regular basis that drivers are being faced with the decision, ‘Do I pick up this rider or not?’” said Greening. “We’re hearing that drivers are being asked to drop off McDonald’s through UberEats to schools, that they’re being asked to take kids to soccer practice.”
Both companies explicitly forbid anyone under the age of 18 from setting up an account or using services without an adult.
“There could be insurance repercussions,” said Greening.
Uber advises drivers to decline the request if they believe the person requesting isn’t 18.
Lyft tells drivers the same thing, asking them to ask the passenger to confirm the rider’s age, cancel the trip if they aren’t 18, and “report requests to transport unaccompanied minors.”
Lyft released the following statement regarding the incident in Old Town:
“The safety of our community is our top priority and the allegations described are deeply concerning. We’ve reached out to offer support and we have deactivated the driver while we investigate the situation and stand ready to assist law enforcement with an investigation.”
More information can be found on the Uber and Lyft community guidelines on their websites.