A company that is billing itself as ‘Uber for kids’ started service in Denver this week, according to the Denver Post. HopSkipDrive is a Los Angelese-based company and the first ride-sharing service approved by Colorado regulators to focus on unaccompanied minors. Unlike Uber and Lyft, the kid-friendly service goes beyond minimum background requirements and only works with drivers who have five years of child care experience — and are willing to get fingerprinted.
HopSkipDrive was started by three moms in Los Angeles in 2014. Between them, they have eight kids that go to five different schools and have 25 different after-school activities. They say struggling with how to make it all work led them to start the company, which they say is centered on safety.
HopSkipDrive’s two thousand drivers are interviewed in person, must have child care experience and are fingerprinted — an action not required by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission or other ride sharing organizations.
The service monitors drivers and texts parents throughout the ride, and sends parents the driver’s profile and picture ahead of time. It creates a secret code that drivers and passengers use to identify one another. It also requires eight hours’ advance notice to get approvals from schools. Rides start at $15 and allow for carpools (starting at $6 a family) and multiple stops.
HopSkipDrive doesn’t provide car seats, but does have booster seats available, and only carries passengers 6 and older.
Uber — which, along with Lyft, doesn’t accept passengers under 18 unless they’re with an adult — tested the idea of shuttling teenagers as a pilot project but hasn’t moved forward with it.