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Any parent with even one child knows the struggle of making it to every obligation their kid(s) have.

It can seem like destinations are pulling you in every possible direction.

That quickly gets overwhelming, so a handful of companies are expanding the market of rides for busy parents and kids.

Equipped with qualified drivers in qualified cars, this method runs like a school bus, without the extra size.

Since established ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft can only cater to adults, there is an untapped market of schools and children tired of transportation confusion.

Thankfully, companies like HopSkipDrive and Zūm are committed to making driving headaches a thing of the past.

By offering customized, optimized, and sustainable transportation methods for kids who have places to be, the hardest choice you have to make is deciding between HopSkipDrive vs Zūm.

Whether you are a parent, school, or driver interested in these two transportation organizations, keep reading to find out how these companies compare where it matters most.

What Are They?

While these two organizations offer similar services, their origins, goals, and execution have unique qualities.

What is HopSkipDrive?

In 2013, this company grew organically out of a conversation between two busy mothers.

After Joanna McFarland joked with Janelle McGlothlin about organizing a fleet of drivers to transport their kids around more efficiently.

The idea blossomed into reality with the help of a third mother and co-founder, Carolyn Yashari Becher.  

Now, HopSkipDrive serves 11 areas with 20 million miles driven to ensure kids get to their activities safely and efficiently.

Focusing on the needs of both individuals and school systems, this organization offers rides for school, camp, and extracurricular activities.

What is Zūm?

Zūm was founded by Ritu, a mother of four, hoping to offer better, modern solutions to children’s transportation.

With the expertise of her two brothers, Ritu has grown this passion into a flourishing company.

Zūm’s main pillars include sustainability and efficiency in its vehicles, routes, and systems.

Zūm promises that 100% of its on-road vehicles will be electric by the year 2025.

At this time, Zūm serves 5 locations and is actively expanding into 8 more areas soon.

With a focus on supplementing and optimizing the transit routes of school districts, Zūm offers a compelling reason to try this modern approach with the promise of cost-effectiveness and trust.

How Do They Work?

Both of these companies prioritize the accessibility of aid and information to parents and their kids.

With comprehensive apps and websites for both of these services, customers and participants can feel involved every step of the way.

How Does HopSkipDrive Work?

HopSkipDrive allows parents and school systems to arrange rides with a certified CareDriver.

After downloading the app or opening the website, a user can schedule a ride for a one-time event or a recurring schedule.

This company requires that appointments be made at least 8 hours in advance, or before 7 pm for a morning ride.

Once the request is completed, parents will be matched with a CareDriver.

Users have access to their driver’s profile and information to ensure that every rider feels comfortable and secure with their representative.

Finally, parents will receive real-time updates regarding their child’s status, including pick-up, drop-off, and the exact location during transit.

HopSkipDrive offers similar services to school systems to provide a safe, personalized, and efficient mode of transportation for every kid.

How Does Zūm Work?

Zūm is a service that collaborates with schools to optimize their transportation needs.

After registering a school district, administrators can organize rides for small and large groups with Zūm’s array of vehicles and buses.

Once a school is in the system, schools can request and schedule rides based on children’s specific needs.

Parents, kids, and administrators can use the Zūm app to track their drivers, log personal student needs, and schedule absences.

In addition, administrators can analyze data to track drivers’ performance, the efficiency of vehicles, and the optimization of routes.

Who Can Use Them?

These two companies have major differences in availability and scheduling capabilities.

Read on to discover which best fits your needs.

vector graphic showing two rideshare vehicles to illustrate the battle between hopskipdrive vs zum

Who Can Use HopSkipDrive?

HopSkipDrive is available to both families and school systems.


HopSkipDrive caters primarily to school systems and families who need education-related rides.

The elderly population is also welcome to use HopSkipDrive in available areas.

Minimum Age

The minimum age for a HopSkipDrive rider is 6 years old, provided that there is an adult present during drop-off and pick-up who can install and uninstall the car seat.

This service also provides rides for some seniors.

Who Can Use Zūm?

Only parents and students within the network of 4,000+ partnered schools and districts can use Zūm.


This service offers flexible and efficient solutions for students in transit between educational commitments or to and from their homes.

Minimum Age

Zūm serves students between the ages of 5 and 17.

Where Are They Available?

These two services provide some overlapping locations and some unique ones.

Where is HopSkipDrive Available?

Beginning in Los Angeles, HopSkipDrive has quickly expanded to 11 areas, with 3 more cities coming soon.

Areas of Operation

HopSkipDrive currently serves:

  • Northern California
  • Southern California
  • Colorado-Front Range
  • Virginia/DC
  • Central Arizona
  • Houston, TX
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  • Midland/Odessa, TX
  • Spokane, WA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Las Vegas, NV

Where is Zūm Available?

Currently serving 5 areas, Zūm intends to expand to 8 more locations soon.

Areas of Operation

Zūm currently serves:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Seattle, WA

What Services Do They Offer?

Both companies specialize in personalized and optimized transportation for children who have school-related destinations.

What Does HopSkipDrive Offer?

HopSkipDrive provides transportation solutions for many different scenarios.

With both individual and small group options, both families and schools can benefit from these alternatives to wasteful bus or car emissions.

Student Transportation

The student transportation options include small-group alternatives, bus-shortage solutions, and route-optimization capabilities.

Small group transportation service is ideal for school functions such as magnet programs, school clubs, school of choice programs, career development, sports teams, and continuing technical education.

In these cases, a regular group of children needs more optimized transportation than a conventional bus can offer.

By matching the vehicle size to the group of children, HopSkipDrive offers a more environmentally-conscious option.

For school districts experiencing a shortage of bus drivers, HopSkipDrive can help fill in the gaps.

Drivers undergo a rigorous certification and background-check process, not unlike the certification for traditional bus drivers.

Schools may also suffer from inefficient bus routes with greater emissions or distances than necessary.

HopSkipDrive can streamline this process.

Foster Care Transportation

HopSkipDrive is intentional about serving groups that are protected under federal mandates like McKinney-Vento and ESSA, as well as IEPs.

CareDrivers are trained and equipped to provide additional aid for children who need care for emotional well-being, need to go home due to sickness, or are in foster care.

Whether these children have urgent needs or need regular, specialized rides, CareDrivers can help.

What Does Zūm Offer?

Zūm prioritizes sustainability and efficiency in school transit routes, partnering with districts to meet the exact needs of those children.

Student Transportation

The current services offered by Zūm are exclusively through school districts.

With their own set of electric cars, traditional vehicles, and yellow school buses, Zūm can provide the exact size and type of vehicle to fill in whatever gaps a school system might have.

The comprehensive app also allows parents to continue involvement in their child’s transportation process by providing access to driver profiles, route tracking, and logging additional needs.

Kids with a cell phone can even use Zūm Kids for location and driver information.


Deliveries are not an available service through Zūm’s program.


While this may have previously been a feature through Zūm, it is currently not an available feature.

Zūm doesn’t offer its service directly to consumers but only to school districts that are partnered with Zūm.

What Are Their Safety Policies?

Both companies know that maintaining trust between schools and parents is important.

What is HopSkipDrive’s Safety Policy?

HopSkipDrive takes company transparency very seriously.

To this effect, they release a yearly safety report to release extensive safety data and share the safety investments that have been made that year.

There are many safety policies in place aiming to prevent as many issues as possible.

For each ride, the parent has access to the CareDriver’s profile and can track their child’s route during the entire trip.

In addition, parents can provide detailed pick-up and drop-off information to minimize any confusion.

CareDrivers uphold a multi-factor authentication procedure during the pick-up process, including wearing a bright orange shirt, displaying a HopSkipDrive sticker on their car, and obtaining a code and birthdate from each child.

Finally, the statistics of every driver are monitored, including brake speed, cell phone usage, and speed.

What is Zūm’s Safety Policy

With new additions to Zūm’s safety policy, including the new SafeGuard program, this company implements a 360-degree safety approach.

From before the ride to after, every Zum driver will submit a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) to ensure that every vehicle is driving safely between every ride.

Zūm practices safety procedures such as COVID-19 guidelines, ride safety protocols such as buckling, customized hand-off instructions, and live support in the case of any incidents.

Every driver is carefully selected to uphold the appropriate driving and safety standards.

How Much Do They Cost?

Comparing the costs of HopSkipDrive vs Zūm, you will find that their rates differ according to availability.

How Much Does HopSkipDrive Cost?

The cost of a ride from HopSkipDrive can be broken down into a few categories.

To estimate the cost of a specified trip, use their fare estimator.


Each ride will consist of a base fare which differs based on location.

Other additions to the fare might include the local operating cost, booking costs, peak hour fee, and a wait fee.

Cancellation fees also apply within 0-8 hours of the canceled ride.

How Much Does Zūm Cost?

Since Zūm is offered exclusively through school systems, the service is free for parents and children to use if their school is a partner.


While Zūm does not disclose the transactions made between each school district, they do boast considerable savings.

After partnering with the Duarte Unified School District in Los Angeles, Zūm has cut expenses by 10% and reduced yellow buses by 35% with better-sized vehicles.

What’s It Like to Drive for Them?

Both companies employ capable and kind drivers eager to serve their local students.

Through screening, training, and monitoring, Zūm and HopSkipDrive uphold the highest driver standards.

What’s It Like to Drive for HopSkipDrive?

This company takes pride in its mission, applying the same high standards to every CareDriver.


There are many necessary qualifications for a CareDriver.

Every applicant must have at least 5 years of child care experience and must be at least 23 years old.

They need to maintain a clean driving record and should also have a 4-door vehicle that is no more than 10 years old.

Application Process

Applicants will undergo a comprehensive background check and fingerprinting.

Those selected to be CareDrivers will receive a live orientation from a current HopSkipDrive employee before beginning work.

Throughout their employment, CareDrivers are expected to uphold the safety policy and the zero-tolerance policy regarding drugs, alcohol, and cell phone use.


As independent contractors, CareDrivers can select their hours while not exceeding 12 hours in a day.

Drivers can choose rides that work best for them in their own time.


New drivers are eligible to earn up to $40 per hour through HopSkipDrive’s Welcome Guarantee.

This program allows them to earn up to $1,000 for 25 completed trips within the first 30 days.

What’s It Like to Drive for Zūm?

A Zūm driver can enjoy the fulfillment of serving children with the stability of predictable routes and pay.


Drivers must be at least 21 years old, show a valid driver’s license, and are preferred to have childcare experience.

In addition, their vehicle should be in good condition, have at least four doors, and have all the proper documentation.

Application Process

Applicants will undergo an extensive interview process before receiving a background check to verify that their record is clean.

After qualifying for training, every prospective driver will complete a multi-module training course.

The course includes behavioral science, de-escalation strategies, and effective communication between schools and parents.

Whether a Zūm driver is operating a car, van, or bus, they will complete all the required state certifications and the company’s safety standards.


Drivers control which rides they choose, with scheduling and earning visible in the app before a driver accepts the ride.


Zūm offers up to a $500 sign-up bonus.

Drivers can earn up to $32 per hour, with some drivers earning as much as $750 per week.

Which Is Better?

The verdict on HopSkipDrive vs Zūm for users will depend on which needs must be met.

However, for each of the following reasons, there is a clear answer:

For families who need to schedule an individual school ride, HopSkipDrive might be a better choice for them.

For school districts looking for qualified car and bus drivers, Zūm could be the right pick.


Both of these services do an outstanding job of putting the rider first.

By emphasizing safety, efficiency, and practicality, these ride-hailing services have created a system that benefits everyone–especially the busy families who need to get where they’re going fast.

Both HopSkipDrive and Zūm do an admirable job of upholding their companies’ core values.

For HopSkipDrive, that is creating a pleasant and productive customer experience.

For Zūm, that is cultivating a more sustainable and optimized system of carpools.

Conclusion: Which is Best?

If you are a parent looking for a single ride or repeated rides for your child, HopSkipDrive is the winner.

Unfortunately, Zūm only offers rides through the school system.

If you are an administrator looking for a better transportation solution, you might find compelling reasons to choose either company.

While Zūm places a special emphasis on buses and sustainability, HopSkipDrive trains exceptional drivers for small group situations.

If you are a driver looking to make extra money, neither of these organizations would be a bad choice.

With serious safety standards and driving expectations in place for both, a good driver will likely enjoy their time with either service.

Wrapping Up

With the similarities and differences of these companies in mind, there is no clear winner.

In fact, where you live, what your needs are, or what type of job you’re looking for might determine the choice between these two.

Keep an eye out for new areas where these services might appear.

If you live in South Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, or New York, you just might be able to participate in this growing market yourself.

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