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For busy parents with busy children, driving across town multiple times a day seems like an inevitable part of life. But what if there were a way to give hardworking moms and dads some breathing room, while keeping kids active and engaged? These days, Zūm is a solution that parents can trust.
Often known as the “Uber for kids,” Zūm is a unique kids transportation service that empowers parents to have free time by helping children get to and from school, baseball practice, birthday parties, and more. It’s an example of how technology can transform lives — while keeping safety a priority, of course.
Interested in using the ride service, or taking advantage of the earning opportunity? Keep reading to learn how you can join in as a parent, driver, or school employee.
- How Parents Can Use Zūm
- How Schools Can Use Zūm
- How Much Does Zūm Cost?
- Zūm Driver Requirements
- Benefits of Driving for Zūm
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Parents Can Use Zūm
For parents with children who are at least five years old, the Zūm is a great resource to help you get your child wherever they need to go. With highly vetted drivers and a zero-tolerance policy for phone use, drinking, and drug use while driving — as well as physical contact with passengers — you’ll know your kid is in safe hands.
Zūm offers three primary services for parents, available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day:
- Single Rides: This basic service allows you to schedule a ride for your child to and from any place where Zūm is available.
- Carpool: Sharing rides can help you save money and keep your children entertained during the car ride. The Zūm app allows you to select multiple riders from your own family, and invite trusted neighbors and friends to join in, to share a ride. Your carpool can pick up and drop off at multiple destinations if needed.
- Childcare: Zūm drivers all have experience as and are certified to be childcare providers. That said, if you need someone to chaperone your child at an activity for up to two hours before or after their ride, this service is conveniently available to book.
To schedule a ride, all you need to do is sign in to your Zūm app, select your child or children who will be needing a ride, set your pick-up and drop-off locations, and schedule the ride by 7 p.m. the day prior to your requested pick-up time.
Pro tip: You can also schedule recurring rides to save yourself the hassle of requesting the same trip every time. Booster seat requests and special instructions can also be added.
As soon as your child has a driver assigned for their ride, you’ll receive a notification and be able to view all of the following on your driver’s profile:
- The driver’s photo
- An image of the driver’s vehicle
- The vehicle’s license plate number
- The driver’s bio
Of course, after a while, you won’t have to read every detail on your driver’s page. Your family will have a small pool of drivers (who you can provide feedback on) assigned to help your children, partially based on similar interests, so you’ll have friendly faces helping out your children every time.
During the trip, you track the real-time progress of your child’s ride through the Zūm app. If your child has their own smartphone, they can also verify their own driver and track their ride by opening their Zūm Kids app.
How Schools Can Use Zūm
Plenty of school districts are taking advantage of Zūm’s reliable and safe rides, and making parents happy by providing real-time updates about their children’s school transportation.
Whether you’re a part of a public school district or a charter school, you can bring Zūm to your school to replace less transparent school bus rides, provide reliable special education transportation, or even help with sporting events and field trips. To do so, fill out the form at the bottom of this Zūm page, or call Zūm’s phone number at (855) LIKEZUM or (855) 545-3986.
How Much Does Zūm Cost?
Zūm is considerably pricier than a standard Uber trip, though this cost helps cover the many precautions that Zūm takes to keep its passengers safe. Prices start at:
- $8 per child for one-way carpool rides
- $16 for single riders on a one-way ride
- $6 per 15 minutes of childcare
Parents can expect to additionally pay around $4 per additional five miles. Though the company doesn’t specify the exact per-mile cost of Zūm services, you can use this fare estimator to get an approximate cost.
Factors that are standard for all rideshare services may also impact the final cost of your ride. For example, prices may fluctuate based on the time of the day, and if your driver is left waiting for over five minutes, you’ll be expected to pay $6 per additional 15 minutes of wait time.
Zūm Driver Requirements
Looking to make money as a part of Zūm’s innovative service? Working with minors requires extra safety precautions to keep children safe. That said, Zūm has significantly more steps that drivers must complete, compared to Uber and Lyft drivers, before they’re approved as drivers on their platform. The company’s driver vetting program includes:
- A face-to-face meeting: If your initial application is successful, a Zūm employee will reach out to you to set up an in-person meeting or a video call as a screening.
- Complete background checks: Because you’ll be working with children, your DMV driving record check and criminal background checks (FBI level and Department of Justice level) should come back squeaky clean — but that’s not all. Potential drivers must additionally complete a Live Scan fingerprinting process. If you’re located in California, you’ll also need to be certified by Trustline, a database of childcare workers who cleared their background tests.
- A vehicle inspection: Finally, drivers must pass a 19-point vehicle inspection that ensures the complete functionality of their car. Zūm will help you out in this step by providing a list of nearby vehicle inspection centers.
Drivers must also be at least 21 years old and have three years of experience working with children. It’s also important to have an updated smartphone that’s compatible with the Zūm Driver app.
Vehicles must be 2009 models or newer with four doors and in great condition. Your standard vehicle registration and insurance will be enough for you to start driving.
Benefits of Driving for Zūm
While Zūm may appear to have an endless list of driver requirements, you won’t be disappointed when you complete them. If Zūm’s evaluations are correct, drivers will get high returns, earning up to $32 per hour or $750 per week. Plus, the company is currently offering a $500 special offer for new sign-ups to make your time worthwhile.
High earnings aren’t the only benefit. You’ll also know exactly how much money you’ll make before you accept your rides, and you’ll know where you’ll be driving a day ahead. Plus, you’re not giving up the flexibility of work that traditional rideshare companies provide. Zūm promises that there are no consequences for declining a ride, and you solely accept rides that work with your schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pretty much anyone can benefit from having Zūm around, so it’s no wonder why the service is quickly growing in popularity. Here are a handful of frequently asked questions to help you learn more about the kids transportation service and becoming a Zūmer:
1. Where is Zūm available?
Currently, Zūm is only serving schools in the following regions:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Dallas, Texas
- Miami, Florida
- Phoenix, Arizona
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Southern California (includes Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego)
However, the company is rapidly growing and trending, so more locations are certainly to come.
2. My child’s schedule has changed. How do I cancel a ride?
Canceling a ride with the Zūm app is easy. All you need to do is tap “Rides” and enter the “Upcoming” section, then swipe left on the ride of your choosing and select “Delete.” Rides cancelled within two hours before the scheduled trip cannot be refunded at all. You can read more about what rides qualify for refunds on this page.
3. How can I contact Zūm if I need support?
Zūm offers multiple ways for its users to contact the company for support. You can call the company at 1(855) RIDEZUM or 1(855) 743-3986, email them at email@example.com, or tap the blue message icon at the bottom right hand corner of every page on the Zūm website.
4. Should I tip my child’s Zūm driver?
Unlike many employees in the service industry, including Uber and Lyft, drivers are not dependent on tips to make a living out of their career. That said, Zūm has stated that it does not require or encourage tipping, though you are welcome to tip your driver in person for exceptional service.
Support a Child by Helping Yourself
All parents deserve to steal back some time for themselves and turn the time they spend with their children into the most memorable of all. With Zūm, schools and parents have professionals to provide their children with the care and safe transportation they deserve in between the most important moments in life. As a driver, you can help make this possible for while earning on the road.
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.