Driver highlights problem with minors using ride-share services

SAN ANTONIO – Minors riding Uber or Lyft alone is against the rules, but many still do it, and it could be putting children in harm's way.

A local driver hopes to raise awareness about what he says is a growing problem.

"If I even know that the address is coming up to a school, I cancel the trip," said Joseph Klappenger, an Uber driver. 

Klappenger said during the school year, he gets at least one or two requests every week from students or parents. 

"There is a list of terms and conditions to follow when you sign up on it. A lot of parents do not read, and that is the problem," he said.

The terms and conditions specifically say minors under the age of 18 have to have an adult with them when riding.

The Uber app, like other ride-share apps, requires that customers be 18 or older to download it.

While it may be convenient for parents to order an Uber or Lyft ride for their children, Klappenger said the rules are in place for everyone's protection. 

"You are sending you kids off with a perfect stranger. You don't know where they are going because once they turn off that app, it is hard to trace," Klappenger said. "The company can be held liable, because it is like when you sell alcohol to a minor. When they go to a store, cigarettes, alcohol, you are contributing and putting that minor in danger.”

Klappenger said drivers don't like leaving children stranded.

"They are obviously calling for a ride for a reason, but you don’t want to leave them there, either, because it may not be a safe condition for them, but you got to use better judgment," he said.

Uber says if a driver reports an underage passenger, the company will investigate the account holder and possibly ban them from the app. 

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