The days of latchkey kids are over. Founded in 2014 by Joanna McFarland, a working mom, HopSkipDrive gives busy parents and families a leg up by insuring safe, reliable rides to and from school or activities for children ages six and up.
Safety is, of course, paramount to HopSkipDrive’s service and success. Unlike Uber and Lyft, HopSkipDrive requires all drivers—called CareDrivers—to have at least five years of childcare experience and undergo a comprehensive 15-point driver certification process, in addition to a background check. Parents can track the entire ride on the HopSkipDrive app, and get notified when the CareDriver has dropped off their children. Parents set up an individualized code between them and their children, which CareDriver must confirm upon pickup. To make identification easier for the child and the school, all CareDrivers wear bright orange shirts with the HopSkipDrive logo.
After experiencing success in California, the founders of HopSkipDrive looked to the Front Range, one of the country’s fastest-growing areas. “Because Denver is a SchoolChoice city, kids can go to any school. Transportation becomes a huge problem for parents,” McFarland says. “Moms can get back to work or get promotions. Kids can make traveling teams because they aren’t late to practice anymore.”
HopSkipDrive also bills itself as a more efficient option for children with special needs or handicaps. “Transportation is provided by the school district for special needs students, but it’s really inefficient to use school buses,” McFarland says. The CareDrivers are “caregivers at heart,” according to McFarland, putting children and safety first.
The app is available for iPhone and Android users for free. After downloading the app and signing up, parents can book rides starting at $15 for a single family and $6 for a carpool. The price increases based on time and distance. Parents receive a picture and profile of their CareDriver with the option of inputting customizable instructions for dropping off and picking up from school—many schools require a sign out if parents are not picking the child up themselves.
HopSkipDrive currently services most of the Denver area, and plans to expand to to cities along the Front Range in the coming weeks, in addition to Boulder and Colorado Springs in the coming months.