Tired of leaving work early to pick up your kids? Frustrated by having to shuffle your children between soccer practice, ballet school, and music lessons?
Don’t feel bad – you’re not the only one.
Luckily, for stressed-out parents, there’s a new method of child transportation. It’s called HopSkipDrive.
This ride service is sort of like Uber for kids. Using it, you can hire someone to come pick up your children and drive them wherever they need to go.
But how does it work? Is it safe? How can you be sure your children are in trusted hands?
Today we’re breaking down everything you need to know about HopSkipDrive, including who can use it, what it costs, and how it works.
- What is HopSkipDrive?
- Is HopSkipDrive Safe?
- HopSkipDrive for Families
- HopSkipDrive for Schools
- How Much Does HopSkipDrive Cost?
- How to Become a CareDriver
- Driving for HopSkipDrive
What is HopSkipDrive?
Do you know that expression “necessity is the mother of invention”? Nothing could be a better example of that theory than HopSkipDrive.
The platform was founded by three working moms. Like many working parents, they were struggling to balance their own careers alongside their kids’ busy schedules. They started the company after recognizing that they weren’t alone–lots of parents struggle with the same problem.
HopSkipDrive Co-Founders: Carolyn Yashari Becher, Joanna McFarland, Janelle McGlothlin
HSD serves families, schools, community organizations, and government agencies. It provides children with a safe, secure mode of transportation. It’s perfect for getting children to and from home, school, day camp, and after-school activities.
HopSkipDrive is like Uber and Lyft in the sense that you can request rides through an easy-to-use app. But unlike traditional rideshare companies, not just anyone can drive for the service.
The company’s drivers are called CareDrivers. They’re vetted thoroughly in order to provide the utmost safety for your child.
Currently, HSD is only available in California and certain parts of Colorado and Virginia, but the company has plans to expand.
Is HopSkipDrive Safe?
Because the founders are moms themselves, the company understands the importance of safety. All drivers must go through a 15-point certification process in order to qualify as a CareDriver.
Candidates need to pass an FBI criminal background check, get fingerprinted and have a good driving record. They must also have childcare experience, and their vehicle must pass a rigorous safety inspection.
Parents can rest assured that anyone driving their child has been fully vetted as a reliable, trustworthy caregiver. But, the safety aspect doesn’t end there…
All HopSkipDrive tracks all rides in real-time. So, you’ll always know where your child is. Drivers wear bright orange uniform shirts that make them easily identifiable. They also have company flags on their car, so your child will know which car to look for.
There’s an additional safety measure in place, as well. Families are encouraged to come up with a secret password that only the child, their parents, and the driver know. This helps to prevent imposters from posing as a CareDriver.
Parents receive an alert when the driver is on the way to make a pickup. They’ll receive another alert once the child has been safely picked up and a third alert when the child is dropped off.
The phone also monitors the driver’s actions. The platform tracks how fast they drive, how hard they hit the brakes, and whether or not they’re texting while driving.
HopSkipDrive for Families
HopSkipDrive’s minimum passenger age is six years old. But, there is no maximum passenger age. This makes it a good option for seniors who need special care or can no longer drive themselves.
The service is perfect for parents who need to get their children to and from school, camp, and lessons. It’s also ideal for transporting children to sporting events and practices. The company provides booster seats for the littlest passengers.
Scheduling a ride is easy. Here’s how it works:
With the app, you can schedule a trip up to 8 hours in advance of your preferred pickup time. You can also book a ride for the following morning – but that has to be done by 7 PM the night before.
You can schedule one ride at a time or schedule recurring rides for daily or weekly activities. To book a recurring ride, just set it to “repeat” when you book your initial one.
If you have more than one child and they need to go to different places, HSD will make multiple stops. Just keep in mind that there is a maximum of 4 children per ride.
Reviews from Families
So what do parents think about the service? Do they like it? Do they trust it? Are they actually using it?
Check out some of these Yelp reviews from parents who have hired a CareDriver:
One parent from Los Angeles writes:
“For the most part, it has been a seamless experience. We did have one time where the driver arrived late, but I was given updates that let me know that she would be late.”
A parent from Walnut Creek, CA says:
“We’ve been using HopSkipDrive for almost three years, with dozens of rides for my daughter, who was eight when we started…We’ve been very happy with the service and I’ve recommended them to several friends.”
Another (admittedly anxious) California parent writes:
“…The idea of my kid getting into a car with a stranger didn’t exactly sound like a great solution…But I am happy to report that this has been a wonderful service that I now use regularly!”
HopSkipDrive for Schools
HopSkipDrive is not just for busy families. It’s also a way for schools to transport students to classes and other activities.
For schools and school districts, it’s the ideal way to provide transportation to students who are not near a regular school bus route. It also allows students who have limited access to transportation to partake in certain activities.
Charter schools and private schools use HSD to provide a safe means of travel to students who live far away. If you’re looking to boost school enrollment, this could actually entice families to enroll their kids.
Volunteer organizations and government agencies can also use the service to help children in need. Some agencies use it to assist homeless students or foster children that have no other means to get to school.
Schools and organizations that use HSD have access to a Client Success Representative. They can contact that representative anytime they have a logistical question, a billing question, or need support.
How Much Does it Cost?
Let’s answer the burning question that everyone has:
What does HopSkipDrive cost?
Like Uber and Lyft, there’s no one answer here, as fare rates are based on time and mileage.
But, here’s the good news:
You can see your estimated ride fare before you book. So, you’ll have an idea of what it’s going to cost you ahead of time.
Of course, traffic always comes into play, but the estimated fare is a good gauge of what you can expect to spend.
If you want to get a sense of what a ride costs in your city, you can use this fare estimator before signing up. Just type in the pickup and drop-off addresses, the pickup time, and if you’ll need to make any stops along the way.
If you’re looking to save some money, consider carpooling with other children and parents. By sharing rides with others, you can save up to 60% on ride costs.
Keep in mind that you can’t just add your kids’ friends to the ride. All children riding in the carpool need the consent of their parent or guardian.
For details on how to set up a carpool ride, click here and watch this video:
How Can I Become a CareDriver?
Driving for HopSkipDrive is not like driving for Uber, Via, or Lyft. The requirements are much stricter.
If you can meet those requirements, you are granted an interview. You’ll need to impress your interviewer in a face-to-face meeting. If they think you’re suitable for the job, they’ll hire you at the company.
Driving for HopSkipDrive
As a CareDriver, you’ll enjoy a range of benefits.
For starters, you can set your own schedule. You’re allowed to work as much or as little as you want. It’s a flexible job that’s perfect for anyone looking to make some extra money on the side.
Average pay ranges, but estimates from 43 drivers show that the average salary is $29.54 per hour.
And, many drivers seem to enjoy caring for children. Here’s what some HSD drivers have to say about the job:
A driver in Manhattan Beach, CA writes:
“After being a stay at home mom for 20 years, HSD provided an opportunity to return to the workplace and utilize my caregiving skills. I am happy to be working with kids and helping families with their transportation needs while earning money.”
A happy driver from Burbank says:
“I left a 55 plus hr work week in the Child Development field to find balance in my family life. Thankfully I found HopSkipDrive. The ride schedules are family flexible and…profitable. I can make my own scheduling according to my financial needs and availability.”
But, as with all jobs, not everyone is as happy. Some drivers argue that the pay isn’t enough to justify all of the wear-and-tear that occurs to their vehicles over time.
One CareDriver from Denver writes:
“On average, every 3 months I have put over 10k miles on my vehicle, so there is quite a bit of wear and tear to keep in mind. For anyone interested, please be aware that they only pay tolls for when you have a child in the vehicle and not for the trip there…”
HopSkipDrive is a unique solution for parents and schools concerned about the safety of their kids. With vetted drivers operating safe vehicles, you can trust that your child will be in good hands as they’re transported point A to point B.
With safety as the top priority, it’s clear HSD has a mission. And that could make life a whole lot easier for busy parents with busy kids that have lots of activities. For families with multiple children, it can really take some of the pressure off.
It’s impossible to be in two places at once, and kids’ schedules often overlap. With HSD, you can spend an extra hour at work knowing that your child has a safe ride home or a reliable way to get to their activities.
Our suggestion? If you’re in the California or Colorado area, try the service and see if you like it. Most importantly, see if your child likes it.
It’s unsafe and irresponsible to put your kid in the back of an Uber or Lyft and hope for the best. In fact, Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t even supposed to pick up anyone under the age of 18 (but sometimes they do).
This service helps you to be a more responsible parent. Know where your child is at every moment. Don’t disappoint them by being late when they need a ride. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that, with HopSkipDrive, they’re in the company of a trusted care provider.