One question we receive a lot on RSG is: are there any dedicated ridesharing companies for kids? It turns out, there are a few – they just aren’t nationwide yet. Today, RSG contributor Paula Lemar covers the top five rideshare apps out there specifically for driving kids. Do you drive for one of these services? Let us know!
One aspect of ridesharing that is gaining more popularity these days is rideshare for kids. The regular rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft do not allow drivers to take unaccompanied minors (even though we all know it happens), but at least five companies have stepped up to provide transportation for minors – legally.
These five companies have special insurance that allows drivers to transport kids, and they all send their drivers through rigorous background checks to ensure their drivers are safe and can handle driving around the kiddos. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top five rideshare apps for kids and what drivers can expect while working for them.
Kidcaboo “is a children’s transportation solution that frees up busy parents so they can build a career, enjoy more down time and spend time with their kids, rather than waiting for them.”
Founded in December 2019, Kidcaboo became a way for working parents to transport their children safely. It’s currently available in North Carolina, Texas, and Arizona, and quickly expanding to other states nationwide. They transport kids ages 5-17 who do not require a five-point-harness car seat.
The drivers for Kidcaboo are called Driving Nannies, and the hiring process is more stringent than becoming an Uber driver (as expected!). All Driving Nannies must be 21 years of age or older (with some state-regulation-related exceptions), a minimum of 3 years of care experience, have clean personal and driving records, and pass Kidcaboo’s extensive vetting, interview and onboarding process.
Kidcaboo provides and installs dual-facing dash cameras for its drivers. According to Kidcaboo’s FAQs, Driving Nannies will always receive a minimum of $15 per ride. They pay for return mileage as well as active ride mileage. They also offer sign-on, referral, and performance-based bonuses.
Learn more about Kidcaboo with Harry’s podcast interview with Kidcaboo CEO Rebecca Lock.
HopSkipDrive was “created by moms and driven with love.” According to a representative of HopSkipDrive: “We are a technology-enabled transportation solution for families, K-12 schools, non-profits, and kid-based businesses and driven over 2.5 million safe miles.” They are always looking into expanding their service area and currently cover these locations: Spokane and Seattle, WA; Northern and Southern California; Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; Colorado-Front Range; Midland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin and Houston, TX; Tampa, FL; Madison and Milwaukee, WI; Philadelphia, PA; and Virginia/D.C.
Along with their certification process and background checks, HopSkipDrive also does ride-alongs and driver training for on-hand training. Here’s a video about driving on the HopSkipDrive platform.
One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that, according to their website, HopSkipDrive does not provide car seats, although they do provide booster seats for children 6 years and older, as that is who the service is geared toward. Younger than six years, and the rider is expected to be accompanied by an adult. The accompanying adult would then provide the car seat, install and uninstall it for the ride.
One booster seat is provided upfront by HopSkipDrive during the onboarding process of their drivers, but they do not reimburse for extra booster seats that may be needed if you drive more than one child who would require a booster seat.
However, if you don’t have enough booster seats and attempt to pick up more than one child who requires one at once, you will be deactivated. So, if you know a client will need more than one booster seat for the ride, purchase it ahead of time to be prepared.
One thing I appreciated about their website is they have a link to their rules for drivers and riders so everyone can understand expectations and ways to maintain safety. One example is that it tells the riders to ensure their driver is wearing the required orange HopSkipDrive apparel, and the driver confirms your password with them. I think it’s awesome they have a prearranged password to add yet another level of safety to a situation that might make parents nervous.
Zūm boasts safe and reliable rides and care for children ages 5+. They do more than just give rides; they also offer care services. Here is their full list of criteria for their drivers, and their coverage area includes the San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and Dallas metro areas.
According to the Zūm website, “We take pride in our punctuality and our ability to complete all rides booked.” Parents are encouraged to use Zūm for daily rides to and from school, commute to and from activities, carpool with their child’s friends, play dates or party pickups and dropoffs, and you can add childcare or chaperone to your ride.
The first booster seat would have to be purchased by you; according to customer support, anything after that will be covered by Zūm.
Something that makes Zūm stand out is their option for carpooling. Their idea of carpooling is where children from multiple families ride together in the same vehicle. Each child can be picked up and dropped off at the same or different locations.
Zūm provides rides from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday through Sunday, which means they are unavailable 24/7. However, they do allow for accommodations by calling support, emailing them or contacting support via chat on their website.
Another unique feature of Zūm is that they have paired with schools in their service areas. The idea seems to be that the school covers the cost of the rides to and from school or extra-curricular activities, which would be an enormous benefit for parents, so they don’t have to front the cost of getting their child to and from school if the bus is not a reasonable option or if there are other transportation hiccups.
Zum even offers services for field trips utilizing their large network of cars, SUVs and vans. Zūm states that they have the right-sized vehicle for day trips or overnight events, including one-way or round trip transportation.
Kango is a unique service in that it allows both rides and childcare, serving parents in so many ways. Much like the regular rideshare apps allow passengers to schedule and track their rides, Kango allows the parents to schedule a ride and follow it so they can see their children are dropped off at the correct spot. They offer services in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles County, and San Fernando Valley.
To stand out from the others, take a look at what Kango has to say about its services:
“Driving for Kango is very different than driving for Uber or Lyft — who are not licensed to drive unaccompanied kids. It’s much more than a curbside-to-curbside service because it is about kids. When you’re responsible for someone’s most precious cargo, safety and trust are key.
“In addition, kids might need to be signed in or out from school or an activity, or brought into the house. Kango drivers are background-checked, and, unlike drivers for Uber/Lyft, they are also fingerprinted, Trustline certified as caregivers (all have childcare experience).
“Kango is the only kids’ ridesharing service that is insured to drive unaccompanied children of any age, and allows both pre-scheduled and same-day requests. And Kango’s live operations team is always there to assist drivers who have questions or need help with a ride.”
All of these apps focus seriously on background checks, fingerprinting and DMV checks to make sure their drivers are the real deal. Here is the safety checklist for Kango. Along with their safety guidelines, they want to make sure the kids are safe at all times by providing the drivers with car seats and booster seats at no cost to the drivers. As for the parents, they just need to remember to request what they need when they are placing the ride request within the app.
I can really appreciate that they cater to more than just rides, but also provide care services. With that gap between when the school day is over and when parents are off of work, this really helps out tremendously. I know several parents who would benefit just from that.
Another plus for the parents is they are able to request a specific driver or sitter and they can set it up to be recurring (daily pick-ups at the same time, for instance). However, they do not guarantee it will be that same driver or sitter but will do the best they can to consistently schedule parents with the driver or sitter of their preference.
Here’s a plus for the drivers and sitters: parents are encouraged to tip and have the ability to do so within the app. As all rideshare drivers know, having tipping available within the app is a huge plus and boosts the likelihood of receiving tips for services. People just do not carry cash.
JumpRydz is a family-focused rideshare company. JumpRydz drivers provide safe, affordable, and reliable transportation for families. It all started in 2011 when Margarita Clarke had been working at an afterschool program and helped families out by dropping their kids off at home or other activities if the parents were running late or couldn’t make it themselves.
From there, she turned those helpful favors into a thriving business called Titi’s Kiddie Kab. In 2019, it morphed from Titi’s Kiddie Kab into JumpRydz, providing services such as rides for seniors and families.
JumpRydz is currently available for drivers to sign up in Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, with service coming soon to Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County and New Jersey.
In the FAQs section of their website, JumpRydz states that passengers/families can meet their drivers before the ride. However, this is not a requirement to be a driver. It’s your choice if you’d like to do this for the family/passenger.
If you as a driver are given a 5-star rating, you’re automatically added into the passenger’s “favorite drivers” section of the app. That way, when they request a ride again, their favorite drivers get first dibs.
Learn more about JumpRydz with our app review here.
What It’s Like to Drive Rideshare for Kids
Tune into this webinar/panel discussion of rideshare apps for kids:
In this webinar, you can hear from the CEOs of the top rideshare apps for kids. It touches on the complex insurance coverage that each has to cover the kids and drivers, as well as how fulfilling driving kids can be.
It also goes into how this is a great opportunity for drivers who prefer to drive during the daytime hours (not at night when drunk drivers are on the road and/or drunk passengers are making a mess of the vehicle). Because of the nature of these rides, they tend to be more expensive than Uber or Lyft rides because of the extra insurance and providing such safety measures for both the riders as well as the drivers. That being said, they also tend to pay their drivers much better, and more consistently than Uber and Lyft.
How Do These Rate for Rideshare Drivers?
As a rideshare driver, do these sound like reasonably paying gigs worth the time and hassle? Part of that has to be your determination: Would you be happy driving children around without the supervision of their parents? Personally, my answer would be “Probably.” Not a firm yes, but also not a no, which leads me to believe, I still might not be right for the part. However, if you truly enjoy kids of all ages, you’re off to the right start with driving for one of these services.
According to the estimated pay, I’d say these are a good deal when compared to the “regular” rideshare services. If I can get up to $30 an hour, I would be excited about that.
One thing you’ll want to take into consideration, however, is if that includes mileage reimbursement. If it does, that’s one less thing you can deduct at the end of the year, which may throw off your taxes a bit. I bank on the fact that Uber and Lyft don’t reimburse me for mileage, so I can write it off as a deduction at the end of the year. But, if that’s not something you’re worried about or interested in, being reimbursed up front for your mileage could be a great option for more cash in your pocket.
As far as available hours go, this seems to be more ideally suited to someone looking to do it part-time with the idea that most of these kids would need rides first thing in the morning, then assuming things would slow down during the school day, and pick back up again from around 2:30 pm and on. The exception to this likely is the services that also provide care service where you’re babysitting or providing a daycare-style service. Those could be day-long endeavors based on the child’s age or how late the parents work into the evenings.
It’s up to you to decide if you have the patience for this type of service and if you feel like the approximate $30/hr paycheck is enough to make up for any hassles you feel this service might bring up in comparison to driving around adults. I know some feel like children are worse to drive than adults, whereas others would much prefer driving kids than adults.
Rideshare for kids is not for everyone, but it could be a great deal for the right candidate.
Are These Apps the Solution Parents are Looking For?
I can see why many parents would jump at the chance to use apps like these. It would be a huge weight off their minds to ensure their kids get where they need to go without interrupting the busy work day. With the added levels of safety built into these systems, it also offers a certain peace of mind needed when children are involved.
I do have some misgivings, however. I feel like some parents may rely too heavily on these services and become detached from their kids’ extracurricular activities and, therefore, more hands-off than they mean to become. I like these as a solution for those occasions when you simply can’t do it, but not as an everyday occurrence.
Also, as a driver, some of the messiest passengers are kids — and that’s when the parents are in the vehicle with them! That’s one reason why driving for these companies might not be a great idea for the everyday driver who drives for Lyft and Uber. There’s a reason these places want to hire people who have experience with kids. They want drivers and sitters who know what they are getting themselves into.
If you’re considering driving for any of these companies, the biggest difference I found among all of them was how they handle the car seat/booster seat situation. As a driver, I don’t want to take on the added expense of buying a booster seat, so I would likely lean toward one that covers that cost.
All in all, it seems like these apps are the real deal for both the drivers and the customers. It’s not just a passing fad. With the added certifications and insurance these apps have, they are protecting themselves against the reasons why Uber and Lyft don’t allow unaccompanied minors and by doing so are providing a service that fills a gap.
Would you drive for one of these kid-friendly rideshare companies?
-Paula @ RSG