Amanda Robbins serves as Zemcar’s Trust Advisor. She has over ten years experience working in risk management in both the public and private sector, including as a policy advisor for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Rideshare for children. This concept should be synonymous with safety. However, this is not an organic component of the larger rideshare environment, as has been identified in many (scary) articles and investigations. Safety has to be a dedicated focus to be successful. Creating a rideshare for children is a specialty. It is a niche market for the simple fact that its customers, its riders, are our most vulnerable population and they require (and deserve) a different set of rules.
Traditional rideshare companies have, in not so many words, admitted as such by stating in their terms of service that they do not accept unaccompanied minors as passengers. The reality is the legal teams there are smart, they do not want to take on this risk, and they advise their drivers to also not take the risk. So the question is, why would you as a parent take the risk? Especially if you do not have to.
Safety should be the standard when we are talking about anything child related. I come from a security background that includes assessing risk and vulnerability at schools. It is a similar concept: we do not want to entrust our children to anyone who does not have the training and is not prepared to protect them to the best of their abilities.
When I first joined the rideshare world, I tried to look at my position as the Trust Advisor as a parent and a professional. Both were telling me to treat this as I would treat the safety and security evaluations and emergency planning for a school environment (or a daycare facility, or other similar entity that I have worked with in the past). Start with the assets. Yes, this a very rough term when talking about children, but the meaning is what is important – what is so critical to this ‘operation’ that we could not survive a loss of that ‘asset.’ Easy, the children. So it is also easy to know where to go from there: focus all attention and resources on protecting the children.
That is what a rideshare designed for children does. The same as a school or daycare, maybe even more so in that a driver’s only responsibility is to get the child there and back safely, albeit with some friendly banter of course, but they really are not responsible for teaching them to how to be good humans, or how to do long division.
If all our resources are not focused on this concept of safety then we are doing it wrong and are going to fail. That is why there have been so many (too many) scary stories about the larger rideshare community doing it wrong when it comes to safety. And really, safety for children (which they do not focus on at all), but also safety for their drivers and more vulnerable passengers. We can save that larger conversation for another day. Today, I wanted to focus on the children.