HopSkipDrive developed the new supplemental transportation solutions to meet growing demands for safe student transport. - Photo: HopSkipDrive

HopSkipDrive developed the new supplemental transportation solutions to meet growing demands for safe student transport.

Photo: HopSkipDrive

Supplemental transportation provider HopSkipDrive has announced a series of new products and services designed to meet the needs of school districts and students, geared toward enabling districts to scale their transportation services and solve challenges while better serving students.

“School transportation needs are rapidly growing, and years of experience working directly with districts showed us that other solutions on the market just aren’t keeping up with these growing demands,” said Joanna McFarland, co-founder and CEO of HopSkipDrive. “The way students get to and from school has an impact on everyone — students, teachers, school districts and our communities. These investments are meant to provide districts with additional resources to help them get all their students to school safely.”

The new solutions include:

  • RideIQ Strategic Routing.
  • SmartPooling.
  • Primary CareDriver+ Program.
  • Rider Assistant Program.
  • Enhanced Onboarding and Support.

Machine Learning Underpins New HopSkipDrive Routing Solution

HopSkipDrive’s RideIQ Strategic Routing uses data science, machine learning, and cutting-edge technology to help school districts save time, optimize budgets, and minimize the impact of bus driver shortages. Through Strategic Routing, school districts are paired with HopSkipDrive’s team of transportation analysts to develop a customized routing plan through analyzing a district’s existing vehicle mix and student base. Efficient routes for each student are created, maximizing the number of students on board according to the district's specific needs. As a result, school buses can be used for the most high-ridership routes, leading to more effective transportation for all.

This optimized routing package is delivered to a school district in a matter of days, saving transportation teams a significant amount of time and effort. Transportation teams can then customize their routing package according to their localized knowledge and expertise, made possible by the quick turnaround and saved time. Strategic Routing’s power extends to aiding district leaders in understanding, with just a click, how policy changes —  like reducing carbon emissions — affect their transportation operations.

School districts can implement their routing plans seamlessly through their existing transportation system or RideIQ, HopSkipDrive's leading ride management system, which enables schools, school districts, government agencies, and nonprofits to book and track rides on the HopSkipDrive platform. School districts interested in RideIQ Strategic Routing can contact HopSkipDrive to learn more about the product. 

Matching Riders and Reducing Carbon Footprint with Pooling

SmartPooling, available on the RideIQ ride management system, automatically matches new riders with existing routes to reduce the cost and carbon footprint of every ride. Once the new ride is built, RideIQ can effortlessly search the client's existing rides to determine which rides can be combined simply by clicking a button, showing potential ride options for the client to choose from. Each suggestion will provide important information about the pooling feature, including the number of riders and the adjusted pickup or drop-off time.

This will help school districts select the best ride for their students, supporting the shared goals of reducing transportation cost and climate impact. School districts who are interested in SmartPooling can contact HopSkipDrive to learn more about how to opt in.

Enhanced Transportation Services for Students with Disabilities

Already, HopSkipDrive has enabled more than 700,000 rides for students with disabilities and individualized education plans (IEPs). The company's raising the bar with several enhanced services for students with disabilities, including:

The Primary CareDriver+ Program: Enhances the safe, caring, and consistent experience offered by HopSkipDrive by enabling school districts to opt in to a program that helps ensure students are paired with the same compassionate CareDriver even more frequently. All riders using HopSkipDrive can expect a consistent ride experience, however, some students with disabilities benefit from even more consistency, and Primary CareDriver+ will provide that. Primary CareDriver+ enables the same highly qualified drivers to deliver an even higher level of service and consistency by providing at least 80% of an individual rider’s rides. This program is currently piloting in select cities across California, Washington, and Colorado, as well as in Dallas, with intent to launch in more markets in the coming months.

The Rider Assistant Program: Enables school districts to choose to book an extra adult through the HopSkipDrive platform to assist the rider for the duration of the ride, a role many school districts refer to as a monitor, aide, or attendant. Rider Assistants must meet the same high standards set by HopSkipDrive to become a CareDriver, such as passing a fingerprint background check and having five or more years of caregiving experience.

While CareDrivers already provide support for riders and are given educational resources during onboarding, adding a Rider Assistant can provide additional support to a rider who needs it during a ride. This program is currently piloting in select cities across Texas and Pennsylvania, with intent to expand in the coming months. 

Enhanced Onboarding and Support: While HopSkipDrive gives all caregivers the opportunity to ensure all their students’ needs are noted, caregivers of students with disabilities will experience an added layer of support with a direct line to speak to the HopSkipDrive team before a student’s first ride to help ensure all of their needs are known and taken care of. Caregivers also will get a message to download the HopSkipDrive Caregiver app so they can track their students’ rides, providing the same ease and peace of mind provided to all caregivers on our platform.

“HopSkipDrive has regularly led the industry in its use of innovative technology to meet students and schools where they are,” said Precious Young, special education director at Bellflower Unified School District in California, a HopSkipDrive partner. “We know students with disabilities often thrive in educational settings where consistent and predictable allies work with them to achieve their goals, and these enhanced services will enable that more than ever.” 

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