Ridesharing apps for kids are on the rise, thanks to the emergence of companies like HopSkipDrive, Kango, GoKart and Zum, which allow unaccompanied minors as passengers. Although the practice of transporting children under the age of 18 is still new (Uber and Lyft both have strict rules against it), it’s growing in popularity. Leaving some parents wondering if it may be the right choice for their family.
Kango Co-Founder and CEO Sara Schaer tells Parentology what parents need to know before sending their kids out with one of these services.
“Put trust and safety first,” Schaer advises. “Do your due diligence to ensure the service is licensed, insured, professional, and fits the needs of your family.”
Choosing a service your kids will be comfortable with is equally important, Schaer says. Some services, like Kango, offer free driver meet-and-greets so both the parents and children can get to know the driver before pick-up.
Here’s a breakdown of four rideshare services specifically for kids:
The company has been around for five years and has thousands of “CareDrivers.” The service also has a fare estimator that will let you know what to expect to pay for your child’s trip ahead of time. Children must be a minimum of six-years-old to ride alone with a CareDriver, and there can be no more than four kids to a car.
HopSkipDrive boasts a 15-certification process for CareDrivers including a minimum 23-year-old age requirement, good driving record and multi-agency background check (which includes fingerprints). They must drive a four-door vehicle that’s less than 10-years-old.
HopSkipDrive is only available in certain California, Colorado, Virginia/DC, Arizona and Texas cities. Rides can be scheduled up to eight hours before needed and can be slated as recurring (perfect for getting kids off to school each morning).
Listed as the only rideshare service insured to drive unaccompanied kids of any age, Kango welcomes riders from newborn on up. Drivers supply both booster and car seats when notified they’re needed. They also provide babysitting services along with car rides, or as a stand-alone service (great for when there’s downtime between school and an activity).
Every driver or sitter is subject to passing a safety check comprised of a Trustline certification (including fingerprints) multi-agency background checks, DMV check, vehicle inspections, at least two references and an in-person interview. Additionally, Kango has a partnership with Chrysler, where eligible drivers have access to Pacifica Hybrid Minivans for low-cost leases.
Kango is currently only available in certain California cities. There’s no cut-off for ordering same-day rides.
The GoKart app helps connect parents and their children ages six-17 with drivers in their areas. The service provides a booster seat for the ride, as long as they’re alerted one will be needed upon booking. An adult must be present for child drop-off.
All drivers must have previous child-care experience, pass a seven-year federal background check and drug screenings, plus submit references and go through an in-person interview.
GoKart is only available in select North Carolina cities. While you can book a ride for as many passengers as the vehicle will hold, only the first two kids are included in the price. There is a $5 fee for each additional child.
Ideal for riders ages five and up, this service provides additional care before or after rides if requested. Drivers will have booster seats available if booked during initial order. There’s no limit to how far the driver will take your child, as long as it’s within counties they service.
All drivers are fingerprinted and have to pass a multi-agency background and DMV checks. Each driver must be at least 21-years-old and have a 2009, or newer, four-door vehicle, which is subject to a 19-point inspection.
Zūm only has drivers available in select California, Colorado, Texas, Florida and Illinois cities at this time. Ride orders need to be placed in advance, and you’ll be notified of your driver’s name by 8 p.m. the night before scheduled rides.