Fathers: Teen daughters used Uber and Megabus to run away from home to Louisiana

CYPRESS, TX (KTRK) -- Two Cypress families are demanding changes to two major transportation providers: Uber and Megabus.

They say their two young teen daughters - 13 and 14 years old - were able to use both to run away from home last month.

The girls took an Uber from Cypress to downtown Houston, bought two Megabus tickets to New Orleans and rode on out of town.

To protect their identity, their fathers asked us not to show their faces or use their names. The fathers, identified as father one and father two, said somebody should've noticed the girls were too young to travel alone and stopped them.

Megabus and Uber said there's only so much they can do.

"Ultimately the responsibility lies with us as parents. But we can't be there all the time. We have to sleep," father one said.

While they were sleeping, an Uber driver picked up their 13 and 14-year-old daughters from a gas station at Cypresswood and Fairfield Place Drive around 5:52am on February 12.

"If the Uber driver had insisted on speaking with a parent or seeing some ID, they would've never gotten out of the neighborhood," added father two.

Instead, the Uber driver drove them 32 miles to the Megabus depot where they bought tickets to New Orleans.

"Between Houston and New Orleans, you have two of the worst cities in the country for human trafficking and we've got a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old that are out there on their own," father two explained.

The 14-year-old's father used her email info to check for an Uber account. The email confirmed she had an Uber account and where the two girls were located.

Friends checked buses and they sought leads on Facebook. The parents eventually got on the road to find them.

"They had gotten spooked, read our Facebook posts, knew we knew they were going to New Orleans, and decided to get off the bus in Baton Rouge," said father one.

After hours of looking in Baton Rouge, they found the girls in a Burger King near the campus of LSU that same night.

Megabus.com released the following statement:

"It is Megabus.com policy to allow passengers 17 and older on the bus. Anyone under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult. In this particular situation, the young ladies were asked how old they were by a Megabus.com employee and they responded 18 years of age. Therefore, they were permitted to travel. The safety of our passengers, employees and fellow road users is our top priority."

The fathers contend the girls do not look 18, and that they look their age.

Uber directed us to their Terms and Conditions that include the following: "You must be at least 18 years of age, or the age of legal majority in your jurisdiction to obtain an account."

After ABC13 asked questions, Uber deactivated the account.

"The other side of it is what are you going to do to prevent this kind of stuff in the future?" the fathers asked.

These dads believe prevention starts with more training for drivers and policy changes to require ID. They say it needs to be focused on looking and identifying troubled situations, whether it's underage or illegal activity.
Related topics:
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.