Busy parents can worry about finding a trustworthy person to drive their children to and from school.When three mom’s experienced this issue first-hand, they came up with an ‘Uber for kids’ to to deal with the problem. Named HopSkipDrive, the service allows parents to book rides through an app and track their children’s trips in real-time.
It has already proved popular in LA, with around 2,000 people using the service. Now the trio – made up of Joanna McFarland, Carolyn Yashari Becher and Janelle McGlothlin – have raised $10.2 million to help take the service nationwide.HopSkipDrive’s passengers are aged between seven and 17.
Parents must request and pay for rides at least 24 hours in advance using a smartphone app or by going online. A single ride costs $20 and a group of 50 rides can be purchased for is $600.To ensure safety and keep parents’ worries at bay, each driver hired by the car service, called CareDrivers, must pass a selective 15-point certification process.
This process includes an background check, vehicle inspection, fingerprinting, participation in DMV checks and an in-person interview, and all drivers must be 23 years old and over.’HopSkipDrive solves a major pain point all families feel, including our own,’ said Joanna McFarland, co-founder and chief executive officer of HopSkipDrive.
‘Demand has grown even faster than expected; we’ve built a strong product and technology team, and are now adding outstanding talent on the operations side.’There are extra features included with the app to ease parent’s minds.For example, parents can request drivers sign their children out of school or walk them to the baseball field.
Not only can parents watch their children scoot around town via the app, the startup’s support teach also keeps their eye on every ride.Drivers can take their own children with them on rides, which the company hopes will help parents feel even safer about their children riding in the cars.The group has been around for less than a year and has already become popular in Los Angeles, which is said to be the largest transportation market in the US.
HopSkipDrive plans on expanding into other US markets this year.In addition to the funding, the startup also announced Eyal Gutentag, former general manager of Uber in Los Angeles, as the HopSkipDrive’s chief of operations.’As a dad of two young kids, I understand the challenges facing families today and truly believe that HopSkipDrive is the answer,’ said Gutentag.
‘My previous experience was the perfect precursor to working with Joanna and the HopSkipDrive team to continue to strengthen and grow the company so we can help even more families.’
HOPSKIPDRIVE’S STRICT CRITERIA FOR DRIVERS REVEALED
1. Loves children and has at least 5 years of childcare experience
2. No criminal record
3. No sex offender record
4. Valid driver’s license
5. Clean driving record
6. Owns or leases a vehicle not more than 10 years old seating 4-7 passengers
7. Passes a 19-point vehicle inspection certified by a mechanic
8. One-on-one interview conducted with core member of HopSkipDrive team
9. Completes in-person driver training and orientation
10. Personal and professional references checked
11. Has personal auto insurance coverage that meets or exceeds state-required limits
12. Adopts the HopSkipRules
13. Adopts our zero tolerance policy for smoking, drugs and alcohol while driving
14. Adopts the zero tolerance policy for not making physical contact with any electronic device while driving for HopSkipDrive
15. Age 23 or older