Ride-sharing for kids

Posted Friday, April 22nd, 2016. Filed Under My Daily Dose

I found this article in the National Post, Monday April 18, 2016 written by Eilene Zimmerman. I love the premise of the topic and want to share it.

Ride-Sharing… imagine that you are so busy that picking up your children from school and making sure they get to their programs can be stressful. For one couple who is divorced this is their life. Both work and they didn’t know how they would get their 12-year-old daughter to her programs. The mother is a real estate agent and her schedule can be unpredictable.

To solve the mother’s problem she asked the principal of her daughter’s school for a suggestion. The principal passed her a brochure from a company called: HopSkipDrive. This woman now uses the service three times a week at a cost of $45 to $50 per week. Ride-sharing services like Uber have been really popular, this is along the same premise with a twist.

The niche market for HopSkipDrive is focused on providing rides for children. This start up which began in Los Angeles is nibbling at the industry’s fringes – Uber and Lyft – and going to a place where they don’t go (they cannot give rides to unaccompanied minors).

While they are still testing the waters in a small number of markets, the sector is already becoming competitive.

Full-time working mothers started HopSkipDrive, which serves all of Los Angeles County and much of Orange County. The company has received US$14.1 million in funding and said revenue is growing 30 per cent a month.

To help alleviate worried parents, these companies provide a level of safety and security the Ubers of the world do not, including fingerprinting and extensive interviewing, and they use software that monitors the driver’s speed and conduct. Many companies operating in California also rely on TrustLine certification, the state’s official screening program for in-home caregivers.

Almost all the drivers for these services are women – often teachers, nannies, daycare workers and mothers. Most companies carry insurance that exceed state requirements and covers liability related to conduct.

As parents try these services, they are becoming more comfortable with allowing a stranger to drive their children. When you order a car through HopSkipDrive you receive a text when your child gets in the car and when he/she arrives at their destination, and during that time the child is never unsupervised.

The price for a ride is 10 to 15% higher…. a price covered easily by “guilt”.

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