School, soccer practice, piano lessons, play dates — with all of the activities kids are involved in, it can be hard for parents to coordinate shuttling their kids from one place to the next. Thanks to a new ride-sharing app developed specifically for kids, busy parents can now ensure their kids always have a safe ride.
HopSkipDrive was invented by Joanna McFarland and Janelle McGlothlin after a conversation with fellow mothers about how nice it would be to have a neighborhood van pickup service for a birthday party they attended, writes Biz Carson for Business Insider.
“We soon became completely obsessed with the idea because there was really no solution,” said McFarland, who is now CEO of their company.
The startup just received $3.9 million in seed funding and has over 100 drivers servicing the Los Angeles area.
Using the app, parents can pre-schedule pickup times for their kids with a “CareDriver”. Parents are then sent the driver’s picture and bio. Parents must give the driver a code word for the driver to repeat to the child so he or she knows that it’s safe to ride with that driver, writes Jordan Crook for Tech Crunch.
Once the child is with the driver, parents are able to track the child in real time through the app.
Since security is a main concern of parents, HopSkipDrive puts their drivers through a thorough vetting process consisting of interviews, vehicle safety inspections and background checks, according to Marco della Cava of USA Today. The company also requires drivers to have five years of child care experience.
No other ridesharing company currently has these features.
“We call our drivers ‘care drivers.’ Our drivers all have a minimum of 5 years child care experience. They are people used to working with kids,” McFarland said.
Every driver is required to wear an orange shirt and have flags on their car to distinguish themselves as HopSkipDrive drivers.
Another feature that separates HopSkipDrive from Uber and other ridesharing companies is the fact that they allow drivers to have their own kids in the cars when picking up clients. The logic behind this is that parents are more likely to entrust their children with other parents, and it also allows drivers to be working parents and not have to arrange their own childcare.
Rides cost around $20 depending on mileage and duration of the trip. The company hopes to expand service to other areas in California beyond Los Angeles, which should see rates drop. Until then, parents are able to save money by purchasing trips in bulk to lower the price per ride to $12, reports Kia Kokalitcheva.