The methods of travel around the planet are evolving. Around the country and across the globe, ride-sharing programs have appeared in countless cities, superseding the grasp that traditional forms of transportation have generally held. Now, this emerging trend has set its eye on another method of people moving: student transportation.
HopSkipDrive caters to the niche market of driving children. While currently only available in Los Angeles and Orange County, parents throughout the city utilize the company on a daily since it provides “families with the necessary flexibility to fit their family’s individual needs,” said Joanna McFarland, CEO and co-founder of HopSkipDrive.
“Parents are always incentivized to simplify their lives. We understand that parents and kids alike are busier than ever, and it is impossible to be in two places at once whether due to work obligations or other family responsibilities,” said McFarland.
These ride-sharing programs are by no means an attempt to unseat the school bus from prominence; quite the contrary, “HopSkipDrive is intended for busy families that find it challenging to use the transportation options provided by schools,” said McFarland.
McFarland detailed that on average, children participate in more than five hours of extracurricular activities a week and most families have parents working outside of the home. She explained that the school bus, which is run on a fixed schedule, may not be available transport kids, and parents cannot be in two places at once.
“HopSkipDrive offers a more accessible and convenient option for those families that need that extra flexibility, as well as confirmation that their kids have arrived to their destinations safely and reliably,” said McFarland.
The company has gained in popularity, recently announcing it had drawn in $10.2 million in funding from investors. It also doesn’t compete with Uber or Lyft, which due to their terms of service, require customers be over the age of 18.
Currently employing 500 drivers, each one is expected to have childcare experience and is put through a rigorous background check, including a fingerprint scan. Drivers are also thoroughly vetted in person or over the phone.
“HopSkipDrive is perfect for the times when the regular school bus schedule isn’t convenient or when a child requires additional caregiving outside of the set bus route,” said McFarland. “We’re providing an alternative solution to help families make it work.”