Need a safe, stress-free way to get your kids from school to dance lessons, then to soccer practice, and finally home? Three safety-obsessed moms in California have started a ridesharing service for kids. HopSkipDrive drivers are rigorously screened, continuously monitored, and have a minimum of five years of childcare experience, according to TechCrunch.
Currently available in the Los Angeles/Orange County and San Francisco/San Jose areas, HopSkipDrive intends to expand to more areas and cities as interest and demand grow. All rides are pre-scheduled the day before, so it’s less ridehailing than ridesharing. The company offers both single family rides with minimum starting fares and flat-rate carpool rides.
Here’s how it works. First, you download a smartphone app and set up an account. You answer some information about your family and your children, and set up a payment method. You and your child, or each of your children, set up a secret code. That’s it for setup.
Rides are scheduled by 7 p.m. the night before the day of the ride. When you set up the ride you see the driver’s photo, profile, and vehicle information. When the driver shows up, she or he will have a bright orange HopSkipDrive label on their car, be wearing an orange company t-shirt, and will give your child the passcode. During the ride, via the HopSkipDrive app, you can get instant updates and track your child’s ride progress.
If you want to use HopSkipDrive’s carpool feature, it’s not like UberPool where you don’t know ahead of time who you’ll be riding with. You set up the carpool yourself by inviting other families to participate in the ride. Your friends have until 7:30 p.m. the night before the ride to join — if no one accepts it’s then considered a single family ride.
HopSkipDrive drivers must pass a 15-step screening process. Every driver is fingerprinted, has extensive background checks, and must be a member of the TrustLine registry. Trustline is the only authorized California screening company for in-home caregivers. HopSkipDrive personnel perform reference checks, ongoing DMV checks, ridealongs, driver training, and of course, they meet every driver.
The company’s insurance coverage is specifically for driving children. HopSkipDrive also uses Zendrive software to monitor driver behavior in real-time. Among other features of the system, Zendrive makes sure your child’s driver isn’t talking on the phone or texting while driving.
Putting your children in a stranger’s car requires the highest level of trust. HopSkipDrive’s safety-obsessed founders seek to earn that trust while providing a much-needed transportation service.