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Business & Economy

Uber is testing teen accounts in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton

 Uber is testing out rides for teens in select cities.
Dan Gold
Uber is testing out rides for teens in select cities.

Uber is testing teen accounts in a handful of cities, including Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton.

The company says teens ages 13-17 will have their own accounts and be able to request their own rides, however, their accounts must be connected to an adult's. Passengers will use special family accounts. Guardians will be notified when their teen requests a ride.

The ride-sharing company announcedthe new program last week and it launched Monday, May 22 in select U.S. and Canadian cities. Sachin Kansal, vice president of product management, said Uber has been quietly testing the idea for several months.

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Uber says only certain drivers will be able to pick up teen riders, and drivers also have the option not to accept teen requests. Parents and guardians will be able to monitor rides through the app, too. Teens can only pay for rides using the payment method attached to the family account.

While drivers must have a certain high score to be able to accept teen riders, Uber hasn't said what that level is. Drivers undergo background checks before starting with Uber, though the company says it is not doing additional background checks on drivers for the family program.

According to the product description, "Whenever your teen requests a ride, you can follow their location directly in the app and get status updates with live trip tracking. Teen trips are destination locked, meaning that drivers can’t change the destination of the trip — only your teen can."

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Uber safety features like PIN verification and RideCheck will be auto-enabled and can't be turned off, the company says. There's also a feature where teens can choose to turn on an audio recording during the trip. Drivers can also choose to enable the audio recording function, which will notify the rider. Guardians can contact drivers through the app as well.

Teen accounts are starting initially in the following U.S. cities:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Bloomington, Indiana
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Houston, Texas
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • New York City and surrounding suburbs, New York
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Tucson, Arizona

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Business & Economy Uberride-sharing
Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.