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Uber for Kids: Guidelines, Safety Features, and Alternatives

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1. HopSkipDrive

1. HopSkipDrive

  • Diverse Ride Options: Flexible services including individual, recurring, and carpool rides.
  • Real-Time Tracking and Safety: Track trips, receive alerts, and view driver ratings.
  • Wide Accessibility: Available in multiple states and supports various communities.
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Between all the “Uber for kids” services quickly appearing across the country, HopSkipDrive appears to be the most popular choice for parents.

Available in California, Colorado, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. — including Denver, Fairfax, San Diego, and San Francisco — the company has provided over four million rides since its inception in 2015.

Using the HopSkipDrive platform, parents can choose between three different services:

  • Individual rides: This standard service allows parents to book one-time rides up to eight hours in advance, or as late as 7 p.m. for trips the following morning. Minimum fares range from $15 to $20. You can receive a clearer price estimate for your location on this page.
  • Recurring rides: If your child needs a ride to school or after-school activities on a recurring schedule, booking recurring rides will save you the hassle of rebooking each individual ride.
  • Carpool rides: If your child carpools with a child from another family you know, you’ll receive up to a 60% discount on your HopSkipDrive ride.

During your child’s trip, you’ll be able to track their location, receive pick-up and drop-off alerts, and view driver ratings.

HopSkipDrive will simultaneously track driving behavior, including everything from phone usage to brake force and speed.

Schools are also welcome to utilize HopSkipDrive as a replacement for school buses.

The company specifies that it is also open to supporting the transportation needs of nonprofits and under-served communities.

2. Kango

2. Kango

  • Combined Transportation and Childcare: Offers both driving and childcare services.
  • Personalized Service: Opportunity to meet drivers/sitters before use.
  • Flexible Accompaniment: Option for parents or caregivers to join rides.
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Available throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County, Kango is another popular children’s transportation service that also offers childcare services.

If your child is heading to an activity that requires a chaperone or you just want an extra set of eyes during a birthday party, Kango is a great service that can keep you updated and in contact with your sitter while they’re with your child.

With Kango, you can meet your child’s driver or sitter beforehand for free to ensure it’s a perfect fit.

Plus, you’re always welcome to tag along or have a caregiver join the ride, as long as you’re listed as a co-passenger.

However, Kango prices can add up for parents who don’t constantly need the service.

Due to periodic background checks, booster seat and car seat availability, and other factors, the company charges a monthly $9 subscription fee.

This charge doesn’t go toward any services, which will cost you a minimum of $16 per ride and $15-20 per hour for childcare.

Regardless, if you’re a former user of the now defunct Shuddle, Kango and HopSkipDrive are both excellent alternatives for your child’s transportation needs.

3. Zūm

3. Zūm

  • Extensive Availability: Operates in multiple states including Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Florida, and parts of California.
  • Driver Customization: Parents can select preferred drivers for their family.
  • Child-Friendly App: Kids can verify drivers and track rides in real-time.
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Zūm is a fantastic blend of the aforementioned “Uber for kids” services that provides all the services listed above.

Plus, it’s the most widely available.

The platform is growing to additional places but is now available for users in Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Florida, and parts of California.

Parents can input their preferences for which Zūm drivers are assigned to their family, ensuring your child’s comfort and familiarity every time.

Parents aren’t the only ones who can take safety precautions on this platform.

Zūm also offers an app where kids can verify their driver and track their ride in real-time through a smartphone.

Zūm’s costs, which can be predicted using this fare estimator, are pretty much on par with other kids’ rideshare and childcare services.

It is important to note that childcare services on Zūm can only be booked for a maximum of two hours.

As with HopSkipDrive, Zūm also offers their services to school districts as a school bus alternative and as transportation for children in special needs programs.

4. Zemcar

4. Zemcar

  • Enhanced Safety Features: Real-time ride watching and live recording.
  • Personalized Driver Selection: Build a 'Circle of Trust' with preferred drivers.
  • Ride Flexibility: Offers both one-way and recurring ride options.
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While Sheprd was once the leading children’s rideshare service in Boston, Massachusetts, permit and financial issues caused the company to shut down in late 2018.

Today, Zemcar is filling this service gap by providing unparalleled safety precautions for children and parents using the service.

Boston area parents can use the application to not only request one-way and recurring rides but also to watch the ride in real-time.

If you have any safety concerns about what happens during a ride, there’s a live recording that you can check at any time.

You’ll also have the opportunity to build your “Circle of Trust,” which allows you to handpick preferred drivers and drivers with permission to drive your child.

You can receive a Zemcar price estimate on this page.

Does Uber Have Guidelines for Kids?

Yes, Uber does allow kids to ride but with guidelines for safety. Minors under 18 must be with an adult and cannot hold an account. Drivers may ask for ID and can contact emergency services if needed.

Kids can still use Uber when they are riding with a parent or guardian, and Uber is generally very kid-friendly.

Drivers are more likely to be patient as they want a good review from passengers, so will usually take extra time and care compared to a taxi.

In some cases, drivers may even carry small candies for kids or will put on the Kidz Bop radio station. It can be these little things that make or break a ride, especially when traveling with tired little ones!

Another feature of Uber that benefits those traveling with kids is being able to specify what size vehicle you need for your ride when requesting it.

For example, Uber XL is a great option for families with multiple children and lots of luggage.

Safety Features On Using Uber For Kids

1. Car Seats

Traveling with young children often means navigating car seat requirements. In the U.S., all states have laws mandating child safety seats. While Uber might be exempt in some states, it’s crucial to verify local laws.

Drivers may decline passengers without proper child seats to avoid legal issues. The simplest solution is to bring your own car seat, ensuring it’s one you can install swiftly.

For those in New York, Uber offers a CarSeat service for an additional $10, suitable for children 2-6 years old, under 48 pounds and 52 inches tall.

Availability can vary, but with Uber Reserve launched in 2023, you can book these car seat-equipped rides up to 90 days in advance—ideal for family trips from the airport.

Below, find some recommended car seats for family travel.

Name of ProductAge Description
Doona Infant Car Seat12 – 15 monthsRear-facing car seat that converts to a stroller on arrival. 5-point harness with 3-layer side impact protection.
WAYB Pico Car Seat2 – 5 yearsSuper compact travel car seat with 5-point harness. Forward facing.
RideSafer Travel Vest3 years +Lightweight portable travel vest crash tested and safety verified.
Bubble Bum Travel Booster Seat4 years +Inflatable booster seat perfect for traveling. When deflated it fits easily into travel bags.

2. Share Trip Status & Safety Agent

Two other built-in safety features in the Uber app are Share Trip Status and the Safety Agent. These features provide that extra peace of mind when riding with children or traveling alone.

Share Trip Status allows you to share your ride live with your loved ones so they can keep track of where you are. You can either share the trip status during a ride or pre-select 5 contacts to see your trips live whenever you use Uber.

Uber also has an online safety agent that can be accessed through just one click on the app.

gif showing how to contact uber and adt with a live agent

If you feel uncomfortable during your ride but are not in any immediate danger, you can click on the shield icon on the Uber app to contact the safety agent.

You can then get help on the phone or silently through text, and they can also call 911 for you if necessary.

3. Uber Family Profile

Uber accounts allow the option for Family Profiles which have benefits for certain audiences. Family profiles allow you to add more than one Uber profile to one account.

This means all rides will be paid for from one account’s payment method but can be ordered from multiple profiles, which is perfect for babysitters, assistants, children at university, and more.

The best part is your credit card details are never revealed to the other profiles so your privacy is still protected; it’s an easy way to manage transport for the whole family.

Uber Alternatives For Kids

While Uber is a kid-friendly transport option, those under 18 years of age cannot travel alone.

This makes Uber a great choice for holidays, but not so much for day-to-day school and sports runs. Zūm and HopSkipDrive are two companies that work with schools and parents to combat this issue.

How to Become an “Uber for Kids” Driver

Closeup of hand on steering wheel

The process to becoming an “Uber for Kids” driver isn’t as simple as the process for traditional Uber drivers, but you’re guaranteed to earn far more after investing your time.

The majority of these platforms claim that drivers can earn over $30 per hour, which is certainly believable due to the higher cost of their services.

Before you can start earning, you must fulfill a set of requirements that can slightly differ but are fairly similar across platforms. Requirements include:

  • Minimum age requirements that range from 21 to 23 years old
  • Vehicles must have four doors, and the oldest models allowed range from 10 to 14 years old
  • Vehicles must pass a 19-point vehicle inspection
  • Drivers must have three to five years of childcare experience
  • Drivers on all platforms must pass multiple forms of background checks

All of this goes to ensure that drivers are not only trustworthy but also great at engaging children and keeping them happy.

Still, safety is always a priority when working with children, which is why every platform has additional, unique screening methods to give busy parents peace of mind.

For example, HopSkipDrive and Zūm require a face-to-face meeting at the beginning of the driver vetting process, Zemcar requires two references, and Kango requires an in-person training.

Frequently Asked Questions

Father and child standing by car on the beach

1. When can I expect an “Uber for kids” service in my area?

The availability of an “Uber for kids” service in your area depends on its expansion plans, with a focus on larger cities first. Expect a gradual rollout due to the rigorous driver vetting required for child safety.

2. How much should I tip my driver?

Tipping your driver is at your discretion, as children’s rideshare services ensure drivers are well-compensated. However, occasional tips for exceptional service can strengthen your rapport with regular drivers.

3. Are there age requirements for “Uber for Kids” services?

“Uber for Kids” services vary in age requirements for unaccompanied minors: Kango starts at age two, Zūm at five, HopSkipDrive at six, and Zemcar at eight. Additionally, younger children may need to ride in the back seat.

Book Free Time in Your Schedule

Uber is an excellent, kid-friendly transport option when traveling – especially when you’re on holiday.

The platform has multiple guidelines and features that ensure the safety of you and your children when riding.

However, under-18s cannot travel on Uber alone, so for everyday transport there are other options available such as Zūm and HopSkipDrive that may be more suitable.

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