Can The Tech Driven Uber Car Service Help Parents?Cecily Kellogg
Just a few weeks ago I spent the day in downtown Philly, and needed a ride home. Rather than park in the city all day I was dropped off by my husband; he was going to pick me up as well, but then I ended up staying downtown past my daughter’s bedtime so I was stuck.
I could easily have grabbed a passing cab, but cabs are a bit of a crapshoot. Sometimes the cab driver is unwilling to drive to the suburbs, or listens to something horrible on the radio, or the cab smells like smoke (something that doesn’t work with my motion sickness well). Instead, I picked up my phone as we paid the bill at dinner and launched the Uber car service app, and booked a driver.
The lovely town car arrived at the restaurant less than five minutes later. Best of all, no money changed hands payment is handled through the app exclusively and no problem driving to the burbs. It is slightly more expensive a cab to my house is usually about $28, and Uber was $33 but well worth it, if you ask me. BIG FAN.
Parents have now caught on to using Uber’s car service for their kids, particularly for ferrying around teenagers late at night. This is brilliant, frankly. It’s safer than cabs, and teens aren’t expected to use cash and best of all, parents can watch the progress of the Uber car on their phones while they wait at home. It’s been covered in the New York Times, and last week in Time.
In the Time article, the author brings up a great point: teenagers are often chatty after a late night event, and by not picking up the kids themselves the parents might be missing out on an opportunity.
The car, more than any other place I know, is like a magic bubble in which kids confide in their parents. And it seems I’m not alone in believing this. A paper from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater found that it’s an environment in which they tend to feel safe opening up about “sensitive subjects.” That’s because, the researchers write, the “teens are able to look straight forward and feel less awkward, as opposed to a face-to-face interaction across . . . a kitchen table.”
This is such a great point, but for single parents of multiple children or for times when the parents are ill or perhaps have enjoyed a cocktail on a weekend evening, Uber is clearly a great option (of course, only if you live in one of the 34 cities where Uber is available).
What do you think? Would you trust Uber with your tweens and teens?