Ride sharing has become the standard for many of us, but one group of commuters are still feeling the carpooling burnout: Parents who must drop off and pick up their kids daily.
While teens have been known to utilize ride-hailing to get to and from parties safely, younger children must rely on their parents to get around. This is mainly due to most apps’ 18-plus age requirement for users, which prohibits parents from even sharing their account with their young kids.
Uber’s community guidelines highlight the strict nature of the app’s policy on underaged riders. “Only adults can have an Uber rider account. If your child is using your account, a parent or guardian must be with them at all times,” the rules state. Lyft has a similar policy.
Enter: Mom-approved ride share services. Unlike the popular standard ride-hailing apps, often scandal-ridden with safety issues, startups like Kango (founded by a mom) are meant to ensure safety and convenience.
To become a Kango driver requires many certifications, including phone screens, employer reference checks, two different background checks, DMV record checks, vehicle inspections and driver fingerprinting, among others. Furthermore, Kango also requires that drivers and caregivers have at least three years of childcare experience. Think of it as an all-in-one nanny and ride share service.
“Moms, and especially working moms, have always needed to rely on outside resources for help when it comes to getting kids to and from school or other activities,” Kango founder Sara Schaer told Observer, describing the cab-hailing model combined with the carpool ecosystem parents have relied on for decades.
“In the past, it might have been other parents in the neighborhood or a nanny,” Schaer explained. “With Kango, they now have professional, vetted, background-checked drivers at their fingertips to help their family anytime, for any reason.”
Given the heavily-vetted nature of childcare, Kango offers parents a “first driver ‘meet and greet,'” or ride-alongs, for families to meet their perspective driver. This helps with not only giving parents peace of mind, but also allows the children to get to know who is picking them up.
Kango is available in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles metro area, and is quickly expanding to other cities. With rides starting at $16, the price of carpool convenience is a testament to the service’s demand that Silicon Valley is seeing from moms and dads. The company currently sells gift cards in any amount, just in time for Mother’s Day.
Earlier this year, a similar app called Zūm raised a $40 million Series C funding round, signaling the high demand for these types of services.
As more millennials become parents in the coming years, the popularity of family-specific ride share apps is due to get even bigger.
These services also make “for a hassle-free and stress-free experience,” Schaer concluded. “Coordinating carpool should not be a headache!”