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When you need to be 18 years old to ride an Uber, but your kids don’t need to be adults to have plans of their own, it may seem like you and your vehicle are constantly needed in two places at once. Every busy family is all too familiar with the struggle of planning schedules and finding rides — and these families are exactly who VanGo is trying to help.
Of all the “Uber for kids” services that have rapidly populated the rideshare industry to make parents’ lives easier, VanGo is one of the most unique. The company is predominantly focused on matching your teens and pre-teens (rather than young kids) with highly vetted drivers, so they can get to school, clubs, sports practice, and other activities.
Whether you’re part of a single-car, single-parent, or overall busy household, VanGo can be the answer to your vehicular needs. Keep reading to learn all about the app, its safety, and how you can start using it today.
- How Does VanGo Work?
- Is VanGo Safe to Use?
- How to Set Up Your VanGo Account
- Requesting Your First VanGo Ride
- Signing Up as a VanGo Driver
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Does VanGo Work?
The VanGo rideshare service is currently available for all youths aged 8 and up in Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and all of Fairfield County, Connecticut — as long as they’re at least 60 pounds and no longer require a booster seat. Parents in these cities can schedule one-time rides or recurring rides as much as four weeks in advance.
When you submit a VanGo ride request for your pre-teen or teen through your Android or iPhone app, your request will automatically be sent to a trusted driver in your area. Once the driver accepts the trip, you’ll be notified about your match and be able to review your ride details as frequently as desired.
On the day of the trip, you’ll get push notifications when your driver is on their way and arriving (your child may receive a text as well), and when your driver has completed their pick-up and drop-off.
While exact rates for VanGo aren’t publicly listed, you will get a price quote for your ride as soon as you enter your child’s pick-up and drop-off locations.
For reference on what to expect, VanGo founder Marta Jamrozik states that rides are typically 15-20% more expensive than your average UberX or Lyft ride. This is largely due to the cost of the driver vetting process, which keeps your teens and pre-teens as safe as possible. The increased cost is comparable to that of other “Uber for Kids” services like HopSkipDrive.
Is VanGo Safe to Use?
VanGo makes your child’s safety their priority. Every driver is required to have at least three years of childcare experience and complete an official fingerprinting process. In addition, they must complete and pass an extensive vetting process that includes:
- An interview with VanGo team members
- A background check
- A driving record check
- A reference check
- A vehicle inspection
As a result, only 10% of all VanGo applicants are accepted. Incidentally, 85% of drivers you’ll be matched with will be moms, so they’ll know exactly how much your child means to you.
For further peace of mind, every VanGo driver is required to keep their GPS on for the duration of the ride, so as soon as you get the notification that your child has been picked up, you can start tracking their route straight through the VanGo app. Just select the current date on the “Schedule” tab and tap on the ride you’re looking to track.
How to Set Up Your VanGo Account
If VanGo seems like the best service for your family, you can complete the sign-up process within minutes today. All you need to do is download the VanGo app from your App Store or Google Play store, then follow these simple steps to sign up and fully set up your account:
- Open the VanGo app and complete the requested information on the screen, including your email, preferred password, and location.
- Once you’re in the app, tap on your “Settings” tab and select “Edit profile info.”
- Fill in your full name, phone number, and location and tap “Save.” This information will act as your Family Profile.
- Go back to the “Settings” tab and select “Add child’s profile.”
- Fill in your child’s full name and birthday, and confirm that they are over 60 pounds. VanGo also recommends uploading your child’s photo to help your driver recognize the teen, as well as submitting your child’s phone number so they can get text updates ahead of each pick-up. Tap “Save.” If you have multiple children who will be using VanGo, you can add more profiles as needed.
- Go back to the “Settings” tab and select “Add locations.” Here, you can save your home and school addresses, as well as any other recurring locations. Adding two locations will allow you to start getting price quotes.
- Go back to the “Settings” tab and select “Add payment info.”
- Fill in your credit card or debit card information, then tap “Save.”
Requesting Your First VanGo Ride
When you’re ready to request your first ride, all you need to do is go to the “Add Rides” section of your app and submit all of the requested information, which will include your:
- Pick-up location
- Pick-up time and date
- Drop-off location
- Requested wait time length
All of this will help the VanGo system connect you with a driver that can meet your children’s needs. Once all this information is filled out, you can review your ride details and confirm your request.
Signing Up as a VanGo Driver
If you’re not seeking a ride for your kids, but you are looking for new earning opportunities, VanGo driver applications are open now.
As we mentioned in the previous section about VanGo safety, getting hired as an independent contractor isn’t as easy as becoming an Uber driver. You will need to pass a full driver vetting process, which includes passing driving record and background checks with a clean record. You also need to:
- Be at least 25 years old
- Have at least three years of childcare experience, which can include babysitting and teaching experience
- Own a four-door vehicle that’s 10 years old or newer and in great condition
- Have a smartphone with iOS 9.0 or later, or Android 4.1 or later
- Have two professional references ready
If you meet all of these requirements, it’s worth submitting an application and trying for this flexible part-time career. All you need to do is head to this job listing page and tap “Apply” next to the “Babysitter/Driver” listing for your city. Then, read through the job description, tap “Apply” again, and fully fill out the thorough form that appears on the next page before submitting.
Frequently Asked Questions
VanGo is a great solution for any busy family in need of a transportation solution. Before you sign up as a rider or as a driver, you may want to consider these frequently asked questions:
1. Can my child submit their own ride request?
No. Accounts on the VanGo app are meant for parents and guardians, which means you will have to submit ride requests on behalf of your teen or pre-teen.
2. When is the latest that I can request a ride?
VanGo doesn’t have a stated deadline for ride requests, though it’s unlikely that you’ll easily find an immediate ride if you’re submitting an on-demand request. Your best bet is to request your ride by at least 8 p.m. the night prior to your child’s requested ride date, as this time frame is a standard deadline for other “Uber for kids” apps.
3. What information can I see about my child’s driver once they accept?
Within your ride details, you’ll be able to see the driver’s photo, name, rating, vehicle model, license plate number, and their phone number. Tapping into their profile, you can view more information regarding their childcare experience.
If you have any concerns, you can always call or text the driver by tapping “Call” or “SMS” on the ride details page. You can also contact VanGo by calling the company at (203) 424-2223, texting them at (203) 349-6278, or emailing them at email@example.com.
Find a Ride You Can Trust
When your teen needs a ride, you’re not going to let them get in the car with just anyone. VanGo makes your search easier by taking on the driver vetting process and connecting you directly to trusted drivers with childcare experience. It’s a great way to help both you and your child successfully navigate your schedules, without transportation being an issue again.
If you have a younger child, but still want the convenience of safe driver matches, take a look at our essential guide to Zūm, a rideshare service that can accommodate kids as young as five.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.