Ride-hailing company Uber has announced a new type of account for teenagers that will allow them to take rides without a parent or guardian.
Uber previously required users to be at least 18 to sign up for an account but now teenagers aged 13 to 17 can have their own accounts and request rides, as long as their profile is linked to a parent or guardian's account.
The new accounts are built for “parents and caretakers of 13-17-year-olds to save precious time with peace of mind”, Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said.
“This feature helps parents and caretakers move teens safely under their supervision.”
After the announcement, Uber's share price was up almost 1 per cent, trading at $37.80 a share on Wednesday.
The accounts come with various safety features and parents can easily control the account.
Only experienced and highly rated drivers will be eligible to complete trips with teenagers, Uber said. Parents can also contact drivers and Uber’s support team directly during a trip as well as report issues on behalf of their teenagers.
“We have designed teen accounts with built-in, privacy-preserving safety features including Verify My Ride, RideCheck and Audio Recording. Plus, live trip tracking lets a parent follow the trip’s progress so they know exactly where their teen is going and who is behind the wheel,” Mr Khosrowshahi said.
The new accounts will be available from Monday in select cities in the US and Canada. They will soon be available on Uber Eats so that teenagers can also order meals on their own, the company said.
In 2017, Uber ran pilot projects in select US cities allowing teenagers to travel solo, but the project was not a success at that time.
Uber said it has also joined forces with car seat company Nuna to offer rides with safety seats.