HopSkipDrive: Is This Kid-Friendly Rideshare Service Safe?

No parent can be two places at once, but with all the places your family needs to go, it may feel like you have to be. With HopSkipDrive, you can finally help yourself and your child experience the world without putting pressure on your schedule. Whereas most rideshare services prevent parents from sending their children...

No parent can be two places at once, but with all the places your family needs to go, it may feel like you have to be. With HopSkipDrive, you can finally help yourself and your child experience the world without putting pressure on your schedule.

Whereas most rideshare services prevent parents from sending their children on unchaperoned adventures, HopSkipDrive allows you to do just that. The platform helps you connect with experienced caregivers who can safely transport your children to school, birthday parties, and extracurricular activities.

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In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about HopSkipDrive, from how it works to the safety precautions it takes for your child.

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What Is HopSkipDrive?

HopSkipDrive homepage screenshot

HopSkipDrive is a unique rideshare service that caters to busy families in need of a ride for their unaccompanied minors. Founded in 2015, the company is now one of the most popular services in an industry dubbed “Uber for kids” and provides three primary services:

  • Individual rides: Using the company’s most basic service, families can schedule one-time rides up to eight days early, or as late as 7 p.m. for next-morning trips. Depending on your area, these single-family rides are available for $1 to $1.50 per mile and $0.50 per minute, with a $3 to $5 booking fee. Minimum fares range from $15 to $20.
  • Recurring rides: If your child needs a ride to school, sports practice, or other after-school activities on a recurring basis, you can preset the schedule to avoid the hassle of requesting the same ride each time you need it. Recurring rides cost the same as individual rides.
  • Carpools: Sharing a ride with families you trust in your area can save you significant funds on HopSkipDrive. By booking a ride with friends in your area, you can save up to 60% and greatly reduce your minimum fares.

You can use this fare estimator to receive more exact estimations for the cost of your child’s upcoming transportation needs.

With every ride, parents can trust that their children are in safe hands with HopSkipDrive drivers, who are fully vetted contractors known as CareDrivers. Or, if they don’t, they can receive real-time updates and know that the company’s Safe Ride Support team is monitoring every second of the ride as an extra safety measure.

How HopSkipDrive Works

HopSkipDrive phone screenshot

Booking a ride on the HopSkipDrive app is a simple process that’s easy to navigate:

  1. Log in to your HopSkipDrive app. If you aren’t a member already, you can go through the sign-up process when you open the app.
  2. Select “My Rides” from your menu.
  3. Select “Just my family” for individual and recurring rides. Select “My family + our carpool” for carpool services.
  4. Select the appropriate date and time.
  5. Select riders in your family.
  6. If you’re requesting a carpool, select families from your contact list to invite.
  7. Select your pick-up and drop-off locations, or add new ones if you haven’t requested rides to and from those locations in the past. Any special instructions can be added within this step.
  8. If you want to set a recurring ride, switch on the “Repeat this ride” option to set the frequency and end date on the next screen.
  9. Double check your payment method is correct, and request your ride.

Following your request, your child will be matched with a trusted CareDriver. While HopSkipDrive does not guarantee the same driver each time, they do state that many drivers choose to return to familiar clients and that all are equally vetted during the driver certification process.

You’ll receive an update when the ride service picks up and drops off your child. You can also double check your app to ensure your child’s CareDriver is taking an appropriate route to their destination.

HopSkipDrive for Schools

Little kids raising hands in a classroom

While HopSkipDrive primarily serves families in need of a trusted, child-friendly drivers, the company additionally provides user-friendly transportation services for charter schools, school districts, and similar organizations.

As a school bus alternative, HopSkipDrive uniquely allows school officials to book services on a schedule that works for them, recurring or not. Like families, schools can monitor every trip’s progress to ensure the safety of their students.

HopSkipDrive additionally states that it frequently partners with nonprofits, counties, and other organizations to help homeless and foster youth attend school with a safe ride and without the hassle of time consuming public transportation.

Is HopSkipDrive Safe?

Green light on a blue sky backdrop

HopSkipDrive takes plenty of extra precautions to protect passengers and provide parents with peace of mind. Unlike drivers for traditional rideshare services, CareDrivers are required to:

  • Be 23 years old or older
  • Have at least five years of childcare experience
  • Pass multiple background checks, including fingerprinting, a criminal record check, and a driving record check
  • Complete a medical exam
  • Attend an in-person CareDriver orientation with a HopSkipDrive team member

These combined requirements make up HopSkipDrive’s intensive driver vetting process, which ensures only the best and most trustworthy drivers will be interacting with your child every ride.

Though HopSkipDrive CareDriver requirements tend to be far stricter than those for Uber and Lyft drivers, vehicle requirements are fairly similar. For example, all these companies require vehicles to have four doors, be 10 years old or newer, and be registered and insured in their state of operation.

All vehicles must additionally pass a 19-point vehicle inspection during each driver’s CareGiver orientation. If a car isn’t eligible for Uber’s high-quality UberX service, you can expect HopSkipDrive to give it the boot, too. After all, no matter what platform you’re using, vehicular safety is always a top priority to keep passengers unharmed.

Frequently Asked Questions

HopSkipDrive: Uber for kids service

Booking a HopSkipDrive ride for your child may be the solution you’ve been searching for, but we know no amount of research is too much when finding a responsible caretaker for your child. Learn more by reading our answers to five frequently asked questions:

1. Where is HopSkipDrive available?

HopSkipDrive is available in several regions of the United States. These regions are:

  • Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Southern California, including Los Angeles and Orange County
  • Colorado, including Denver and Colorado Springs
  • Virginia, including Arlington and Fairfax
  • Washington, D.C.

2. Is there a minimum age requirement for HopSkipDrive passengers?

Compared to other “Uber for kids” platforms, HopSkipDrive has a relatively strict age threshold. The company only allows unaccompanied minors who are six years old or older. Younger riders are only allowed if accompanied by an adult.

3. Can I request a car seat for my child?

No, HopSkipDrive only provides booster seats for children who meet the minimum age for riding alone. If a parent is accompanying the child, the parent is welcome to bring a car seat, but CareDrivers are not allowed to assist in installing or uninstalling the car seat.

4. How much do HopSkipDrive drivers make?

CareDrivers can make up to $32 per hour, according to the company’s estimations. The exact number depends on the amount of rides you accept when setting your schedule, but you can definitely expect to earn far more than a typical rideshare driver, whose earnings are extremely close to minimum wage in some states.

5. Do I need to tip my child’s CareDriver?

Unlike most companies in the service industry, HopSkipDrive does not expect or encourage tipping. This is because the CareDrivers are able to earn impressive hourly wages through the earnings the company provides. Unlike traditional rideshare drivers, CareDrivers do not depend on tips to make a decent living.

However, HopSkipDrive has not created any rule against tipping. While you won’t be able to tip through the HopSkipDrive app, you are always welcome to tip your CareDriver outside of the app if they provide exceptional service or you’re feeling generous.

Help Your Child Take on the World

When your child explores the world by attending after-school activities, birthday parties, and more, they’ll thank their superhero parent for teaching them how to navigate the world. By using HopSkipDrive, you can ensure that your child is in safe hands.

If you want to weigh your options to find the best platform for your child’s transportation needs, take a look at our article about Zūm, which provides childcare in addition to driving services.