HopSkipDrive announced it is investing $2 million into its Opportunity for All Community Fund.
An announcement on Nov. 30 says that the organization believes the investment provides an opportunity to address the school bus driver shortage. Other benefits cited include putting money back into schools and classrooms by reducing transportation costs and providing a flexible income opportunity for community members while getting more students to school safely and reliably.
With the fund, HopSkipDrive will provide ride credits to its existing education partners based on CareDrivers referred to HopSkipDrive by that school or district. The fund will be initiated in select markets where HopSkipDrive currently operates, including California, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Washington state.
"We're excited to solve the bus driver shortage in a way that engages school communities, provides flexible earnings opportunities, and invests dollars back into the schools and communities we serve," says HopSkipDrive Co-founder and CEO Joanna McFarland. "This unique program alleviates some of the many issues plaguing both communities and schools."
HopSkipDrive says 80% of school districts report that bus driver shortages have constrained their transportation operations. And, trends toward open enrollment mean that more students have unique situations that require creative solutions when it comes to transportation.
The company operates by providing school districts with flexibility by introducing a network of CareDrivers who drive their own personal vehicles. This, it says, is a more efficient way of serving students who may not fit into a regular bus route, or who may be on buses that are less than half-full. HopSkipDrive's platform offers schools and families visibility and transparency, as well as safety. One of the requirements for becoming a CareDriver is five years of caregiving experience, which includes working as a teacher, nanny, nurse, counselor, babysitter, or being a parent or caregiver for a family member. CareDrivers must also undergo a 15-point certification process — including a background check and fingerprinting — before gaining access to the HopSkipDrive platform.