Three West Coast Moms Have Started an “Uber for Kids” Shuttle Service
Question: What do you do when your kids need to be at soccer practice and you’re still at work—and there’s no one else to take them? Or they need to get to school on time and you have a mandatory meeting for work? Answer: You call HopSkipDrive.
HopSkipDrive is basically Uber for kids. You probably know that Uber doesn’t allow anyone under 18 to take a ride, and this new service is the first of its kind.
It was started by three mothers—Joanna McFarland, Carolyn Yashari Becher, and Janelle McGlothlin—who, together, have eight kids in total. They were constantly having to shuttle around their children to school and after-school activities, and it was getting to feel impossible for them.
HopSkipDrive works just like Uber does, except it’s kid-friendly. The parent calls the driver, and then they pick them up and take them where they need to be.
If you have any doubts—and, frankly, we can completely see why you would—here’s the best thing about it that should make you feel better: After the child gets inside the car, parents receive updates throughout the whole ride. They even get information about the driver, as well as a photo of them ahead of time.
Additionally, the company’s hiring process is not something they take lightly. First, the moms require drivers to have five or more years of childcare experience. Then to get hired, they must go through a 15-point certification process, including getting a background check, getting fingerprinted, going through an in-person meeting, and ongoing DMV monitoring.
“We wouldn’t trust our kids with just anyone, and neither should you,” the trio states on their website.
The one difference between HopSkipDrive and Uber is that for HopSkipDrive, you have to schedule the pick-up at least eight hours in advance. And for early morning pickups, the ride needs to be scheduled by 7 p.m. the previous day. So this service won’t quite work if you need a last-minute ride, but hey, it’ll definitely give you more time to get to work, especially if you’re the one dropping the kids at school every day.
Right now, HopSkipDrive offers their services in California and Denver, Colorado.
“Denver has highly active families, and with school choice, families have a lot of options. Everybody wants what is best for their children, and that’s not always the school down the street,” said CEO Joanna McFarland. “There’s a huge opportunity for us to enable school choice by enabling the transportation piece of getting kids to the school.”
The price isn’t too shabby either—rides in Los Angeles/Orange County as low as $16 for a single family, and $7 per family to carpool.
Moms from all over seem to be loving their experience with HopSkipDrive so far:
“It’s hard when we’re single moms and we have to be at work but our kids have to be in certain places,” said Denver resident and mom, Joanna Aguilera, who now uses the service. “And it’s great they have childcare experience.”
“Just knowing your kid is with someone who really understands and gets kids and is not going to be rude (helps),” said mom Gabriella Shead, a Lakewood, Colorado resident. “I think I enjoyed it more than my daughter did because I finally felt relaxed, I finally felt comfortable.”
If you live in California or Denver, do you think you’d try out HopSkipDrive? What do you think of this new, innovative service?