Alternative student transportation options are growing throughout the United States, with two providers announcing expansions today.
HopSkipDrive, which already operated in 18 markets across eight states and in Washington, D.C., is launching its service in school districts around Madison, Wisc. And New York City-based Kid Car announced that it’s expanding into 10 new cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Baltimore, and the District of Columbia.
Last week, provider RideAlong announced it was offering student transportation to passengers attending Chicago public schools.
“We’re looking forward to providing a safe, dependable youth transportation solution for Madison-area schools,” said Joanna McFarland, co-founder and CEO of HopSkipDrive. “Mobility is more than getting kids where they need to go; it means access to opportunity. With approximately 75,000 K-12 students enrolled in public schools in Dane County, we’re excited to help solve transportation challenges for many of the schools in the Madison area.”
Kid Car’s founder and CEO, Topher McGibbon, launched the shared school transportation service aspect of his company in 2008. Currently, he said, school transportation accounts for about one third of Kid Car’s revenue, with airport and local travel making up the rest.
“Kid Car is unique,” he said. “Not only are our drivers fully vetted and trained to properly install a variety of car seats, but we also provide a choice of vehicles and the ability to make a reservation with as little as two-hours’ notice. This means a parent can reserve a car at lunchtime to bring their child home from basketball practice or their child’s entire basketball team home from practice.”
McGibbon said Kid Car partners with existing bus companies “to provide greater flexibility and cost savings for smaller groups of students than would otherwise be served by a 72-seat bus.”
The Kid Car app, besides allowing parents to secure transportation for their children, offers the ability to rent strollers and cribs that can be delivered to the family’s destination.
Paley Nordlof, homeless and foster care liaison at Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District in Wisconsin, is excited about working with HopSkipDrive: “Consistency is key for these students, and we’re pleased that HopSkipDrive’s safe and reliable youth transportation solution is now available to help with these needs in the Madison area.”
HopSkipDrive describes itself as "a transportation solution for general education populations," and touts itself as a means of alleviating results of school bus driver shortages.
"In fact, HopSkipDrive has been proven to be a cost-effective, environmentally friendly solution when a bus is underutilized, or when there are 12 kids or fewer on a bus," according to a news release. "Schools report reduced transportation costs, shortened student commute times and improved educational outcomes."
Rides can be booked through the HopSkipDrive platform and tracked in real time, with live notifications throughout the ride.