Becoming a rideshare driver can be an excellent way to make some side cash on your own schedule. Your car and your time. But what are the rules? You’re working for someone else but using your own car. If you are going across town, you should be able to take your kid along to drop them off at school, right? And driving around town can get monotonous, so why not take your spouse or partner along?
Can Uber and Lyft drivers bring their kid or spouse with them on the Job? No. If a Lyft or Uber driver has someone in the car other than a paying customer, that driver can be deactivated by the ride-sharing company. You can, however, have a passenger along for the ride if you are working for UberEats or other delivery services such as Door Dash, Postmates, or Instacart.
While it would be far more enjoyable to have company on your journey, it’s smart to look at it like any other job (Would you bring your spouse or child to a meeting at work? Would they be allowed in a restaurant kitchen or a mechanic’s garage?). It’s safe to say it’s also not acceptable in your ridesharing job, even if the job is perhaps more unconventional.
Reasons You Might Want a Passenger to Accompany You
Drivers want a companion along for different reasons. Here are the most common ones:
A lot of newer Uber and Lyft driver’s biggest concern, and rightfully so, is their safety. You are picking up a bunch of random strangers and driving them to a destination you aren’t familiar with. This requires that both the driver and the passenger trust each other. So when you pick up a rider, you are picking up a complete stranger.
For this reason, many drivers want to bring someone they trust along for the ride, to hold other parties accountable. This makes a lot of sense, especially for female drivers. That’s not to say that male drivers don’t have the same fear of lack of safety that women do. However, female drivers tend to feel even more vulnerable having a stranger enter their vehicle, considering the statistics of crimes and harassment against women in the U.S.
Unfortunately, while it is a rare incident that someone is actually attacked or sexually harassed in an Uber or Lyft (whether you are the driver or passenger), it does happen. This rare occurrence puts people on edge, for good reason. One way to protect yourself is to have someone else with you.
This may seem a bit obvious; however, it is true. One of the most common reasons people want to bring along a companion is for the enjoyment of having someone you like and enjoy, accompanying you on a journey that could otherwise be kind of boring and cumbersome. However, being a driver for a rideshare company is a job, and as I mentioned earlier, like any other job, bringing someone along for the ride is frowned upon.
The other most common reason people reach out to see if its okay to bring someone on a ride-along is for reasons of necessity. For example, some people have child-care responsibilities but also need to earn a living. From this point of view, it makes total sense for someone to explore the possibility of bringing their child along for the ride, so they can look after them, and be making money at the same time.
Uber and Lyft don’t discriminate when it comes to bringing companions with you when driving passengers. They clearly state, you may bring no companion with you, or else you risk being deactivated and losing your driving priveledges.
This is a tough pill to swallow for some parents who are looking for an opportunity to supplement their income and earn extra money. While you could technically bring your child along, you are risking deactivation if a passenger reports it. Is that likely to occur on a one-time emergency basis? Not likely.
However, it is still frowned upon, and if there is a true emergency situation, it would be wise to simply turn off your ride-share app for the rest of the day and handle your emergency so as not to risk losing your Uber or Lyft job.
Why is Bringing Someone With Me Not Allowed?
First, I would like to reference Uber’s official response on this matter, so you have it for the record:
“In the interest of safety and comfort for riders, friends and family of driver-partners may not ride in their vehicle during a trip. When online, please do not allow other passengers to ride in your vehicle. “ – Uber Help
While they don’t go into much detail here, I can help elaborate on the two main reasons why this is not allowed by Uber or Lyft.
The main reason why you aren’t allowed to bring a companion along for the ride is for the safety and concern of Uber and Lyft’s customers (the passengers.) It can be intimidating as a single individual rider to hop into a car with not just a driver you already do not know, but a driver and some random friend of theirs. I personally would not get into a vehicle with two people in the front of a ride-share vehicle. For women specifically, it sets off all kinds of red flags and internal alerts that lead to the same conclusion that this may not be safe!
Chances are it’s a harmless friend just along for the ride but could also open up the possibility that this ride along stranger could be there to more easily overpower or take advantage of the individual in the backseat (whether it’s a male of a female passenger). So for the safety and overall comfort of passengers using a rideshare service, it is not okay to bring a companion.
Some might argue that bringing their wife along shouldn’t seem intimidating. Even if your wife is the nicest person on the planet and she hands out freshly baked cookies (at least fresh when she took them out of the oven), it’s still not okay.
Both Uber and Lyft charge their passengers based on the seats available in the vehicle. For example, a regular Lyft or UberX has available seating and seat belts for four passengers while a Lyft XL or Uber XL has the capacity for six passengers. A ride-along passenger brought along by the driver would obviously prevent the paying passenger from maximizing the value of the service by bring their guests.
As I mentioned earlier, just as you wouldn’t bring your spouse or kid to work for an important meeting, you should treat your ride-share job similarly, bearing in mind that bringing a companion along for the ride just is not professional. Since Uber and Lyft are well-established companies, they have reputations to uphold, and those reputations rely on customers who feel safe and comfortable.
If Uber and Lyft don’t even recommend you take phone calls during your drives, you can guarantee that physically bringing a person with you is a most definite no-no.
Recommendations for Easing into Driving in a Way that you’ll Feel Safe
If safety is your main concern, there are some helpful tips to follow that don’t involve bringing a companion along for the ride.
- Choose The Right Time of Day – Since the general assumption is that most people between the hours of 7 am-3 pm are likely not hammered out of their minds, and thus less likely to be raucous or even inappropriate, I’d recommend driving during the daylight hours until you feel comfortable transitioning into evening or even late-night drives
- Inform a Friend of your Whereabouts – If you truly are paranoid about being unsafe while driving, you can always do what a lot of passengers do before hopping into an Uber or Lyft: text a friend as the passenger gets in to let them know where you are and where you are heading.
- Use Your Judgement – We all have internal compasses that let us know when we feel something is off. If you get a bad feeling about any passenger or situation you find yourself in while driving for a rideshare company, use your best judgment, and either terminate the ride or don’t pick up that person in the first place.
- Reach Out to Uber–If you really feel in danger, terminating a ride will be okay if you reach out to Lyft and Uber to explain the situation.
- Drive to a Station–If the situation gets totally out of hand, and you feel like it won’t resolve peacefully, drive to a police station to have the problem resolve itself with authorities present.
What if Your Driver has a Passenger?
Do these two things:
- Say no thanks and don’t get into the car.
- Report the reason for the cancellation to Uber so that you don’t get charged for refusing the ride.
Key Take Away
Unfortunately, no matter the circumstances, bringing a kid or spouse along for your ride is against company policy for both Uber and Lyft. Customers can and do report violations of that rule. Even if they don’t say anything to you, they can add that to their comments.
Remember, if it is an emergency, turn off your rideshare app and handle your emergency while not being on the clock. And if you are concerned about your safety, then alter the times you drive to ensure you feel more comfortable and confident. Be safe out there.