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Dear Parents: Uber/Lyft are not School Busses and Your Kids Safety is at Stake..

School has started for many in the Greater Houston area, and will be starting for Houston ISD in the coming days. With school and work schedules, it makes it hard to get everyone in your family where they need to be on time. So what do you do? You call an Uber or Lyft.

Why is this a problem?

The problem lies within Uber and Lyft’s policies. Both companies know that there are many drivers out there that can not be trusted with kids alone. Yes they have “screened”, but not fully and that is part of the problem with rideshare drivers. Did you know every licensed child care provider in Texas is screened via a FBI background check? If you are sending your kid off to school with a random driver, wouldn’t you want to know that they have been fully vetted? Don’t get me wrong, most drivers are awesome and will not do anything to harm you child, but there is always that one bad apple lurking in the background. This is true, even with licensed child care providers, but even more so with Uber and Lyft because of the lack of rigorous screening.

So what, you trust drivers enough to send your kids with them? Now, keep in mind that because it is against Uber and Lyft policy, their insurance that is extended to cover riders in an accident is likely not going to extend to your kid that may have been involved in an accident. Even though it maybe a short ride, in the neighborhood, your chances of a wreck are very real. Think of how sleepy you feel before you get to work. How sleepy you feel on the way home. So, it may not even be the rideshare drivers fault, it can very well be someone else that hits your car. Because that child should of never of been in that rideshare vehicle to begin with, the insurance has every right to refuse the claim. Sure, you can go after the driver, but if we are desperate enough to break policy and pick up your kid, we clearly do not have any money. Even if you are paying $7 for that ride, your driver only sees about $2-$3 of that on a short ride, like to the local school.

But no driver has ever told me no in the past….

Yes, as a rideshare driver, I get that a lot, and I believe it to be true. Why do drivers pick up your kids anyways then? It is simple. We waste not only gas, but time as well to get to your kid. Sure we may of gotten to you within 5 minutes but trust me when I say it adds up and gets annoying. When we cancel (as most drivers will upon finding out we will not be taking the ride) we are not paid a single dime from Uber or Lyft. Futhermore, if we wait the full 5 minutes to cancel and you get charged, you will likely dispute that charge with Uber and Lyft (as you should). If Uber and Lyft see a pattern and will deactivate that driver for fraud. If we cancel too much, then Uber and Lyft can and will deactivate us as well. That is awesome isn’t it? No matter what we do, we can lose our jobs because you, as a parent decideds not to follow the rules. So what do many drivers do that rely on this income? They simply pick the minor up. If we keep cancelling, we will be deactivated.

Instead of crying, why do you work when kids need rides to and from school?

One of the greatest things about rideshare, is that we can pick and choose when we want to work right? So we can simply stop working from lets say 7-9am and 3-6pm. While this maybe okay to you, for many drivers, this is the only time they have available to work. Just because you want us to break policy and take your kids to school, doesn’t mean we should stop working.

Well, my kids need a ride to school..

A school district like Houston ISD has enough transportation infrastructure that can get your kids to and from school, free of charge and with school bus drivers that are screened. If your kids are “too good” to ride the bus, there are a number of private transportation options that work directly with schools. My childs school even goes as far as to provide a list of providers in my area. There is honestly, no reason why you should be relying on Uber and Lyft to take your kids to school.

As a parent, I can not fathom sending my kids off in a car with some stranger, especially seeing how some of these drivers drive and act on a day to day basis in front of other drivers. I know drivers with felonies on their record that are able to work for one rideshare, but not the other. There is not one that is better at background checks than the other. You really need to find a transportation service provider that is licensed by the city, and more importantly the state. I get that Uber and Lyft are the cheapest options available, but cheaper is far from being better. Your childs well-being is not worth any amount saved.

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