How Drivers Can Handle Unaccompanied Minors & Parents Without Car Seats

You’ve arrived at your passenger’s pickup location only to find out that they’re an unaccompanied minor or a parent with a young child and no car seat. What should you do? Joe with The Rideshare Guy has good strategies on how can you handle these types of requests.

Watch Joe’s video, then scroll to the video transcript below if you’d like to see the points he covers.

Uber drivers do not need to provide car seats

As drivers, we’re not required to provide car seats for young children. That is the responsibility of the passenger, the parent, that requested the ride. And you’re going to want to know your state’s laws. Here in Minnesota, if a child is eight years or younger, we are required to have a child restraint system for that child in order to be transported unless that child is 4’9″ or taller. Here’s a link to various state laws about child seats.

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And I completely understand from a passenger’s standpoint, it can be tough to lug around a car seat, but in terms of safety, car seats are absolutely necessary and parents with young children should be providing them for their child.

Uber and Lyft don’t allow drivers to transport unaccompanied minors

We are not allowed to transport unaccompanied minors under the age of 18. This one’s a little bit more tricky, it’s a little bit more difficult. It’s not as obvious as showing up at a passenger’s pickup location, they have a young child, and you see that there’s no car seat. I’ve probably done it before myself where I’ve given a ride to someone that looks close to 18, but sometimes maybe they’re younger, maybe they’re 17, that’s not as obvious. I don’t think it’s a huge deal if you give those rides, but there are times where you see that it’s an unaccompanied minor and they’re maybe 13, 14. In those occasions, you may want to deny that passenger that ride.

Handling the awkward situation of denying a ride

We really should not be put in these situations in the first place, but it’s going to happen. How do you handle these situations? It’s probably going to be awkward. You’re going to be denying these passengers transport, so try to be calm and polite and be as empathetic as you can as possible even though you know that you shouldn’t have been put in that situation in the first place. They shouldn’t have requested the ride in the first place.

If it’s a parent with a young child and no car seat, what you want to do is be polite and calm as possible and say to the parent, “I completely understand, it can be difficult to lug around a car seat, but it is actually against the terms of service for you to transport a child without a car seat.” And maybe stick to that terms of service instead of saying something like it’s unlawful, which it is.

Try and stick to maybe just empathizing, saying, “It’s against the terms of service. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a ride. You’re going to have to find another form of transportation.”

Guarantee that you earn your cancellation fee

What you want to do is you make sure you get paid. You deserve that cancellation fee. You’ll politely ask them, “Can you cancel the ride and find another mode of transport?” They may say something to you like, “Other drivers have done it.” Just be firm and say, “I know other drivers may have done it, but I just don’t feel comfortable. I don’t want to give the ride.” If they do cancel, good. Then you’ll get that $5 cancellation fee. If they don’t, maybe just drive a little bit further, maybe around the block or something, wait until that five minute wait time expires. Then you can cancel the ride. And with Uber, you actually have the option to cancel that ride and it’ll say, ‘no car seat’. With Lyft, you’ll have to cancel that ride after the five minute expiration and say ‘passenger no-show’.

I also suggest reporting these passengers. You’re going to want to contact Lyft or Uber via the support system. Say, “This is a parent with a young child and they tried to get a ride without a car seat.” These types of passengers should be flagged in the system so that other drivers don’t have to deal with these situations and so that these parents know they need to be providing those car seats for their children in order to ride with Lyft and Uber.

How to handle an unaccompanied minor

With an unaccompanied minor under the age of 18, it’s not going to be as obvious. You’re going to have to determine that yourself and I know sometimes drivers may give a 16, 17, 15 year old, even, a ride without even knowing it. I don’t think that’s a huge deal because we’re not actively trying to go against the terms of service.

I remember early on I had a parent that requested a ride for their elementary child. I denied them the ride. I said, “This is unfortunately against the terms of service.” Again, you want to try and empathize with whoever requested the ride with that parent. But in your head, you may be thinking full well, “Not only is this against the terms of service, but you shouldn’t be asking me to give a ride, an unaccompanied ride, to your child.”

You’ll use the same cancellation strategy as before. You’ll ask that parent or if they can cancel the ride and find another mode of transportation for their child. If they refuse or say another driver would do it, just say that you’re not comfortable doing it. If they cancel, great.

With Uber, they do have another option where you can say ‘unaccompanied minor’ as the reason for cancellation. With Lyft you’ll just have to say ‘passenger no-show’.

After that ride cancels out, you may want to log out of driver mode just for a few minutes in order to ensure that you won’t get re-requested by that same passenger. You’re going to want to report those passengers to support. You want to flag them in the system saying, “This is someone, this is an unaccompanied minor. This is a parent that tried to request a ride for their child.” These rides should be flagged. If we as drivers are proactive with it, even though we shouldn’t have been put in the situation in the first place, the requester should know what the rules are, but if we as drivers are more proactive about it and deny these passengers rides and let Lyft and Uber know about them, they probably won’t occur as frequently.

Let us know how often this happens to you, if it has happened to you, how you’ve handled the situation.¬†Thanks again for watching and drive safe. Thanks.


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