No longer do you have to take public transportation or deal with summoning a taxi on a busy night or in bad weather. Now you can stay warm and dry until your car is right where you need it to be.
Savvy entrepreneurs have figured out that many adults who rely on ridesharing services have kids who could benefit from a comparable transportation service.
There are now dozens of ridesharing companies that focus specifically on transporting children, usually from home to school and back again, but also sometimes to after-school activities and weekend events.
Some of these services are hyper-local, operating in just one city, and others are rapidly expanding.
Let’s compare seven of the most popular kids transportation companies in the United States, including Zūm, HopSkipDrive, Kids Kruiser, Bubbl, Kango, GoKid, and Zemcar.
Zūm is a very popular ride service for unaccompanied minors. Zūm works with both parents and schools to arrange reliable service between home, school, daycare, soccer practice, and a range of other after-school activities.
Zūm provides transportation services for just one child, for multiple children in one family, and for multiple children from multiple families. Carpools must be coordinated by the families so your child doesn’t end up on a Zūm ride with strangers.
Zūm currently operates in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. Zūm will soon be serving Dallas and Chicago families and is expected to expand into additional cities in the coming months.
The three-step screening process to drive for Zūm is so stringent that four out of five applicants fail.
You can schedule transportation with Zūm through the Zūm app on a weekly or monthly basis or as a one-time ride. You can contact Zūm customer support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-855-RIDEZUM (1-855-743-3986).
Rides with Zūm start at $8 per child per one-way carpool trip and $16 per private one-way ride. The exact price will vary depending on the time of day, wait time, and distance traveled. You can get an estimate of your rides cost by using Zūm’s fare estimator.
Zūm has a special Zūm Kids iOS App and Android App which allows your kids to see their upcoming rides and drivers, monitor their transit in real time, and access the ride-specific password they need to confirm their ride.
Founded by three moms who needed help getting their kids to all their various after-school activities, HopSkipDrive describes itself as the “Uber for kids” and focuses on transporting children age six and older. HopSkipDrive operates in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Colorado Front Range area.
If you’re in one of those areas, you can request a ride for your kids on HopSkipDrive.com or on the HopSkipDrive app for iOS or Android.
HopSkipDrive has a very stringent 15-point certification process for HopSkipDrive CareDrivers which includes having at least five years of childcare experience, the ability to pass the deepest criminal record check allowed at the federal, state, and county levels in every location the applicant has lived in the last seven years, passing ongoing background checks, and having no sex offender record.
All HopSkipDrive rides require the driver and passenger to confirm the provided code word with one another to ensure kids are getting into the right vehicle.
HopSkipDrive ride pricing depends on the distance traveled, ride duration, and where the ride is taking place, with the minimum fare ranging from $6 to $18. You can get a price quote from HopSkipDrive prior to booking by using their fare estimators for Southern California, the Bay Area, and Colorado.
If you need to reach HopSkipDrive’s customer service team, you can email email@example.com
Kids Kruiser is a ridesharing service for children service that operates in Michigan. Kids Kruiser passengers are provided with a QR code which drivers must scan at pick up and drop off. You will receive a text with your child’s location each time their QR code is scanned.
Kids Kruiser drivers must pass background checks at both the state and federal level as well as the Kids Kruiser 20-point safety inspection, be fully licensed and insured, and have a clean, newer vehicle with four doors.
You can book a ride for your child with Kids Kruiser by using their online contact form or by calling 1-833-KRUISER (1-833-578-4737). You can schedule Kids Kruiser rides as a one-time event or on a weekly or monthly basis.
Kids Kruiser requires each family to pay a non-refundable $30 annual membership fee and rides start at $20. Additional service fees including escorting a child in and out of a building (including sign in and sign out) for $5, waiting time after 10 minutes past the scheduled pick up time at $15, and short notice bookings at $5.
Kids Kruiser encourages parents to tip their drivers 15–20 percent of the booking fee.
All Kids Kruiser rides must be paid for at least 24 hours in advance or the booking will be canceled. No-shows are charged the full booking fee and cancellations within 24 hours cost $10.
Bubbl was founded in Dallas and has expanded to serve Austin, Texas, Emerald Coast, Florida, Greenwich, Connecticut, and McLean, Virginia.
Bubbl vehicles are driven by certified First Responders who have passed an extensive application process. Drivers have to complete an interview, drug screening, background check, and a motor vehicle report.
All vehicles used for Bubbl rides (whether company or driver owned) are visibly branded and all working Bubbl drivers must wear the company issued blue Bubbl shirt.
Bubbl rides can be pre-scheduled through Bubbl Rides iOS App, on the Bubbl website, or by calling their customer service center at 1-833-68-BUBBL (1-833-682-8225).
Each Bubbl ride will have a unique price quote, with no minimum. This quote will be based on a range of factors including but not limited to the number of stops required, the number of passengers being transported, and whether a car seat or booster seat is required.
Kango operates in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley and provides rides to children age 2 years old and up. Children under 2 years old may ride with Kango but need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Kango charges a $9 per month introductory fee to help cover the cost of ongoing background and DMV records checks and services such as driver training, car seat and booster seat availability, and commercial insurance coverage.
The fare for each ride will depend on the number of miles traveled and time, but will start at $16, with an estimated fare provided at the time of booking.
Kango also offers babysitting services, which can be booked in addition to rides or separately.
GoKid is a slightly different ridesharing app than the others on this list as it focuses exclusively on coordinating carpools between families who already know and trust one another and goKid can be free to use.
Instead of allowing parents to book paid rides with drivers vetted through a complex hiring process, GoKid connects families who already know one another and enables them to map out carpool plans in an easy-to-use app.
The GoKid free app offers route optimization, in-app messaging, and reminders about upcoming carpools. The paid version of the GoKid app costs $4.99 per month and offers the additional features of in-app notes, carpool history, calendar sync, and additional notifications.
GoKid is a great option for parents in school districts that no longer operate school buses or in tight-knit communities that are already running carpools and need a place to keep all the plans organized.
Zemcar calls itself “the safest rideshare for families on the go” and provides transportation for children who are 8 years of age or older.
Zemcar allows parents to send one-time use instructions to their kids’ driver through video, audio, or text. Parents are also able to choose the drivers who are allowed to transport their children by reviewing the driver profiles and adding drivers they like to their “Trusted Circle.” If parents would like, they are also able to interview the driver one-on-one prior to adding the driver to their Trusted Circle.
With Zemcar, you’ll get a text when the driver is on the way, when the ride starts, and when it finishes. While your child’s ride is in progress, you’ll be able to follow along on the map or watch the ride live through their secure video feed for real-time updates.
Zemcar’s base fare is $15 and can increase based on distance traveled, ride duration, and driver wait times.
Safely Get Your Child a Ride
Historically, getting from point A to point B when you’re under 18 has meant using available public transportation, a bike, or your own two feet. Now there are lots of options for transporting kids safely and securely, so parents can focus on their own schedules.
No more running out of an important meeting because your kid needs a ride to piano lessons or being late to work because of the line-up at school drop off.
If you have a kid, the services listed above can help untangle your schedule from theirs while giving you the security of knowing that they’re safe and sound for the duration of their transit.
If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities where a ridesharing service for kids operates, the choice of which one to use will be easy, since right now you’ll pretty much just have the one choice.
And if you don’t, well, you can always take advantage of the goKid app to plan your carpools until something expands to your city.