"Uber for Kids" - Would You Use It?
What is an "Uber for Kids"?
Just like ridesharing services for adults, a rideshare service for children takes kids from A to B, booked through a mobile phone app. However, the drivers are heavily-vetted, meaning not just anyone can sign up. They are popping up across the country. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Dallas and Denver all have these services. Busy families love them, but wary parents might want answers before trusting their kids to carpool with a stranger.
Who would use a rideshare service for kids?
Think about all the times during an adult's life when they would need to use an Uber or Lyft: the car is in the shop, there is no parking at their destination, their spouse is using the family car, they need to get to a meeting or activity, it's more convenient than driving - the list could go on further.
Similarly, families with busy or conflicting schedules might use a rideshare service to help get their kids to or from school, activities, sports or daycare. Separated spouses might use a rideshare service to get kids from Mom's house to Dad's house. A single, working parent might need to be at the office early or late one day, so they are unable to perform carpooling duties. There are many scenarios where a "nanny on wheels" might be helpful for a family. With these services, you don't need to be a millionaire to have a private driver for your kids, instead you can hire one at the touch of a button.
Is a rideshare service for kids safe?
Because it's illegal for a minor to use Uber or Lyft, rideshare services for kids must go the extra mile to be safe, secure and trusted forms of transportation. Many services fingerprint their drivers, run extensive background checks, perform rigorous vehicle inspections, do multiple rounds of interviews and make sure their drivers are certified by the state to be caregivers. In addition, services provide carseats for little ones and some services offer to let families meet the drivers beforehand for free so the kids are familiar with who is picking them up from school. Just like an adult rideshare service, you can track the ride using an app.
These ridesharing services are oftentimes founded by working moms themselves, so they understand how parents feel and take extra precautions to ensure safety and trust.
How can I find a service in my city?
Here are a few services and the cities that they serve:
- Bubbl (Dallas): Bubbl drivers are off-duty police officers and also offers a delivery service for businesses.
- HopSkipDrive (San Francisco, East Bay, Los Angeles/OC, Denver): HopSkipDrive recently raised $7.4 million from investors and is Denver's first "Uber for Kids".
- Kango (San Francisco + surrounding counties, Los Angeles): Kango was voted "Best Uber for Kids" in San Francisco and recently partnered with Chrysler to provide Pacifica minivans for its drivers.
- Sheprd (Newton, MA): Sheprd drivers use Land Rovers and has $1 million in funding from InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover's venture capital arm.
- Zemcar (Boston): Zemcar's founder worked at the Department of Homeland Security and has three children herself.
- Zum (San Francisco, Los Angeles/OC): Zum partners with over 1,000 schools and does not require a subscription to use the service.