EDITORIAL: Uber Should Lower Passenger Age to 16

Uber has grown in popularity with the convenient app and the fact that it has the ability to pick you up from wherever you are, but the public carpooling app comes with its consequences of at least 235 illegal incidents being reported since mid-2014. Some believe lowering the allowed passenger age from 18 to 16 could help solve the number of crimes being committed in Ubers, while others think age does not play a relevant part in the problem.

Lowering the age limit from 18 to 16 will have no significant impact on the number of incidents that can occur within an Uber. Age does not always factor into whether or not an Uber driver may make the choice to harm a passenger and therefore should not be taken into as much consideration when it comes to requirements a passenger must have to ride. 

 Many people haven’t used Uber for good reason, as many have their own means of transportation that is easily accessible. However, not everybody has accessible transportation and are often put in a position where they simply cannot navigate to where they need to go with only a limited number of vehicles in circulation and a household of people with different schedules. Young people who cannot afford a car and who have families who work early hours may need a way to get to places such as school, appointments, or work. Buses aren’t always accessible and many cities do not have public transport, so many young people rely on services like Uber to help them get to places they need to be. 


Teenagers crave the taste of freedom, but sending a teen out alone and them needing to find a ride in an emergency can be complicated, especially when that teen is somewhere far and cannot afford to wait for someone they know to come get them. Young adults get lost easily and may decide that ordering an Uber would be more convenient than asking someone to come pick them up and take them to their destination. For the sake of convenience, Uber can be an effective tool.


In the state of Texas, a person is allowed to get his/her license by the age of 16. The state believes they can entrust a vehicle to a 16-year-old high school student with confidence that they can handle themselves out on the road. If 16-year-olds can be trusted to operate a vehicle, they should be given the right to also ride in a vehicle from a carpool app like Uber. We do not think there is a big difference in maturity between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old, so we see no reason as to why the Uber passenger age limit can not be lowered.


Some may argue that a 16-year-old still has legal limitations when operating a vehicle, which should be taken into consideration when presenting the argument that they are legally seen as responsible in the eyes of the state. However, the fact that a 16-year-old has limitations when they are driving is simply due to the fact that they are inexperienced. Age does not make up for experience in this case, which is why the argument that a 16-year-old having legal limitations while driving is irrelevant. 


At the end of the day, there are always going to be risks involved when using an app like Uber and people shouldn’t let bad experiences dictate how they choose to utilize the service. Lowering the age limit from 18 to 16 will not affect the amount of incidents that can happen. The app is meant to make a person’s life easier and if we can not effectively use the app for all it is worth, then what is the point in having it?