HopSkipDrive has launched its child ride service in Denver, Colorado, marking its first operation outside of California.
HopSkipDrive provides app-based customized transportation services for children and their families. That includes getting kids to and from school, sports practices, and other after-school activities.
Until this month, the company had been operating only in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, Denver families can schedule rides for kids ages 6 and older online or through the HopSkipDrive app.
“Denver has changed since I grew up here, and with the incredible innovations around school choice many Denver families face daily challenges getting kids to and from their schools and after-school activities,” said Joanna McFarland, cofounder and CEO of HopSkipDrive. “Other ridesharing services are not allowed to service any passengers under 18 by themselves, so I’m thrilled that we are expanding to my own hometown to help families here the way we’ve helped thousands of families in California.”
Rides start at $15. Multiple families can book carpool rides for cheaper rates.
When parents book a ride for their child, the app shows them a profile of the driver, including a photo. Parents can provide specific pickup and drop-off instructions for the driver, including a personalized code word to use when picking up their child.
Parents get notifications when their kid is picked up or dropped off, and they can track the ride with the app. Also, HopSkipDrive uses a smartphone program called Zendrive to monitor driver behavior in real time.
As previously reported, school bus contractor Student Transportation Inc. (STI) took a minority stake in HopSkipDrive last fall. Thomas Kominsky, STI’s chief growth officer and head of the company’s non-asset businesses, said that the relationship with HopSkipDrive is gaining momentum and will help facilitate further expansion for the rideshare service.
“We can not only reduce the overhead burden, but we can utilize our deep local knowledge to help them build a B2B [business-to-business] pipeline, and recruit and train drivers, really giving them a head start against all other competitors,” Kominsky said. “We are excited to help them facilitate expansion to other parts of Colorado and elsewhere in the country, either on a standalone basis, or as a hybrid solution with STI, where we already have operations in places like the Midwest, Texas, California, Pacific Northwest, Toronto, and the high-density areas in the Northeast and along the East Coast corridor.”
In Denver, customers signed up for service for their kids in advance, according to a press release from HopSkipDrive.
“Taxi-ing the kids around is a full-time job,” said Michael, a Denver dad. “I heard about HopSkipDrive a few months ago, signed up, and I’ve been waiting for it every day. Our family plans to use this service all the time.”
For more details on HopSkipDrive and other companies that provide rideshare services for kids, see SBF’s April/May issue feature article "Students on Board: New Breed of Rideshares Provide Tech-Powered Pupil Transportation."
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