As part of Ola’s commitment to maintaining a high quality and safest ride-hailing platform across the United Kingdom, it is in the interests of safety that under no circumstances should a rider who is under 18 years of age (aka the ‘minor’) be unaccompanied on an Ola ride without an adult present.
We recognize that the current Private Hire legislation does not prevent this type of trip from occurring and this may lead to confusion amongst some drivers on why Ola has taken this position. To help make our positioning clear, we have taken this decision due to the following considerations:
- Safeguarding is at the heart of everything we do here at Ola, it is not only our legal or regulatory responsibility, it is an ethical one we take seriously
- We recognise the increase in Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and County Lines criminality, which prays on vulnerabilities of young people into criminality In order to commit to the joint work cross industry and government, such as the Home Office’s county lines work, it is our assessment that this policy positively assists in preventing and reducing these types of safeguarding concerns across the transportation sector
- Furthermore, our Terms and Conditions do not permit us, as a Private Hire Operator, to enter into a contract with a minor or for the account holder to book services for anyone other than themselves, such as a third party. This is reinforced via this policy article and FAQs that remind driver partners of their obligations
We recognise it is never straight forward in the real world and as such, would like to reinforce the following key advice to all of our driver-partners;
As you’re arriving at the pickup – If you’re in doubt of the rider’s age or you suspect them to be an unaccompanied minor, ask for confirmation and proof of age before starting the trip.
If you’re mid-trip – If you suddenly become aware that the passenger is an unaccompanied minor during the journey, please ask them to verify their age. It is important that you do not suddenly end the trip and that you complete the journey, and when at the destination point, make sure the person is met by an adult and confirm their age.
In any situation, your first consideration is the safeguarding of that person and if you have any immediate concerns for the person’s safety, you must immediately dial 999 and inform the local police.