Money

Is This Rideshare App For Kids Worth It?

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HopSkipDrive can provide safer transportation for schoolchildren and senior citizens than a standard rideshare app. Caredrivers go through an extensive screening process, and the platform provides real-time updates to parents and guardians.

This platform is available in multiple metro areas across the United States for on-demand transportation. Our HopSkipDrive review closely examines how families can procure safe and affordable school transportation.

Further, we show how it’s possible to become a paid driver to earn extra money while helping families with unique needs.    

Summary

HopSkipDrive provides private, on-demand transportation for students and senior citizens. Drivers go through a thorough screening process and have at least five years of caregiver experience. The app has ample schedule flexibility for drivers and weekly payments.

Pros

  • Flexible schedules
  • Hands-on safety features
  • Partners with local schools

Cons

  • Only in select cities
  • Potential driver shortages
  • Busiest during school year

What is HopSkipDrive?

HopSkipDrive home

HopSkipDrive is a ridesharing app specializing in school and senior transportation when public transportation or assistance from a family member is impractical. The app partners with school districts and organizations nationwide to provide safe and alternative transportation.

It emphasizes safety and has a relatively rigorous screening process compared to other ridesharing apps for additional peace of mind. The Android or iOS mobile makes it easy to track the rider’s location, plus the ability to book rides.

For instance, parents can organize rides so their children don’t need to ride the bus or when a bus route is unavailable. The driver has at least five years of previous caregiver experience. Drivers also pass a background check along with child abuse and neglect scans.

While this app is mainly for children needing a ride between school, home, and afterschool activities, it also offers elderly transportation. Some drivers have wheelchair-accessible vehicles to help riders make appointments and run errands.

This flexibility is excellent for working families that cannot take off from work at certain hours. Additionally, it’s helpful when a caregiver or babysitter cannot pick up the rider.

How Does HopSkipDrive Work?

Here is how to use the platform to schedule one-time and recurring rides without the stress that can accompany standard transportation options.

School Transportation

Most rides involve drivers taking children to and from school and after-school activities. Parents and organizations can request rides at least 8 hours in advance. The cutoff time is 7 p.m. for morning rides. 

Children must be at least six years old to ride without adult supervision, and drivers may provide booster seats. Younger children can ride if an adult is present to install or remove the safety seat. Adults must accompany children under the age of four. 

The platform states that it has helped over 16,000 schools for students without traditional bus routes. In addition to helping individual households, the platform facilitates school rides for youth experiencing homelessness (McKinney-Vento Act) and foster children. 

This app directly partners with school districts to help students with the following situations:

  • After School care
  • Charter schools 
  • Continuing technical education
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Individualized education plan
  • Private schools
  • Special needs
  • Sports practice

HopSkipDrive can work with available drivers to finalize a pickup time if parents or legal guardians do not request rides. Drivers are more readily available during the school year, but it’s possible to use the service year-round for educational and personal purposes. 

Senior Rides

Older individuals can benefit from the service, as well. HopSkipDrive collaborates with families, organizations, and nursing homes to provide transportation. 

Some of the options include:

  • Doctor appointments
  • Meals on wheels
  • Shopping trips
  • Social outings 

In addition to providing rides involving disabilities and special needs, drivers must make accommodations for service animals, as the law requires. Be sure to include any requests to find a suitable vehicle during the scheduling process. 

It is possible to schedule these rides in the same app as school rides. Further, some multi-generational families use this service to schedule rides for their children and aging relatives. 

Real-Time Updates

HopSkipDrive home

Each ride implements the HopSkipDrive Safe Ride Support system, providing hands-on support to parents and ride requesters. The rideshare app provides a driver’s profile, vehicle identification information, and real-time location details in the app. 

If the itinerary has multiple stops, the progress page indicates the current leg of the journey. It also shows if the driver is picking up or dropping off other passengers. 

Further, several safety practices are in place for additional peace of mind:

  • Orange identification decals: Drivers place an orange decal or vehicle to help identify legitimate drivers.
  • Passenger photos: Parents can upload a photo of their child to make it easier for the driver to find the correct rider.
  • Rider code word: The driver and passenger will confirm a secret code word before letting the rider into the vehicle.
  • Special instructions: Parents can include advanced instructions such as written permission to enter and sign out a child. Other examples are mentioning notable landmarks or the rider’s attire to avoid delays.

It’s also possible to contact drivers by call or text. However, drivers only answer the phone when the vehicle is stopped. The app uses a third-party service to detect phone usage during motion to prevent talking or texting while driving.

Finally, live chat support is available directly from the company daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific. Phone support is also for urgent matters. You may consider contacting the support center when the driver cannot satisfy your needs.

As a father of four, I find these safeguards to be practical. While I don’t live within the service area, they make me feel comfortable requesting a ride for my child, knowing that I can verify the driver’s identity and track their current location while en route to the destination.  

Locations

HopSkipDrive home

HopSkipDrive is available in the following metro areas:

  • Arizona
  • California
    • Bay Area
    • Los Angeles
    • Northern California
    • Orange County
    • Sacramento
    • San Diego
    • Southern California
  • Colorado
    • Boulder
    • Colorado Springs
    • Denver
    • Front Range
  • District of Columbia
    • DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia)
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
    • Austin
    • Dallas/Ft. Worth
    • Houston
    • Midland
  • Wisconsin

The service area is usually a 100-mile maximum trip distance. This service area makes it an excellent platform for expansive cities and unique situations in outlying areas. The service currently doesn’t provide airport transportation, which requires additional permitting.

Fare Protection

In select metro areas, drivers and riders can be eligible for this feature, which guarantees a minimum driver payout. For example, a minimum ride fee helps drivers earn a competitive wage for short trips.

Fare Protection also guarantees that drivers earn at least the estimated amount when checking in at the start of the ride. The earning potential can increase when the driving time is at least five minutes longer than the estimate and exceeds the minimum base fare threshold. For example, the minimum varies by city and is at least eight miles and 35 minutes in Phoenix.  

You can book a ride with most credit cards and debit cards. The app waits to charge the payment method once the ride ends to verify the total trip cost. This practice removes the possibility of requesting refunds if the driver cancels or nobody claims your ride request.

How Much 

Below are many common fees that riders and drivers can anticipate paying. The average ride can cost between $40 and $80 with a route distance from 10 to 30 miles.

Ride Fees

The platform has a fare estimator lets you project fares for one-stop and multi-stop routes by plugging in the locations’ addresses. As peak hour pricing may apply, you can select the start time for a more precise estimate.

Here are some of the costs for sample routes: 

  • $40 for 11 miles in Spokane, WA
  • $45 for 13 miles in the Nashville, TN metro area
  • $62 for 20 miles in the Washington, D.C. metro area
  • $71 for 27 miles in Los Angeles
  • $82 for 25 miles in the Nashville, TN, metro area

The above cost estimates consist of a base fare measuring the distance and driving time. A booking fee and local operating costs also apply. 

Peak-hour pricing applies when the pick-up time is from 6:30 to 8:29 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:29 p.m. 

Other incidental charges may also apply, such as vehicle damage, rider delays, and tolls: 

  • Cancellation fee: 50% for cancellations between one to eight hours and 100% for cancellations within one hour of pick-up
  • Cleaning fees: Spot cleaning ($50) and full detailing ($100)
  • Damage fees: Varies
  • Tolls: Cost of toll
  • Wait time: Varies and starts 10 minutes after the scheduled pickup time 

Tips are optional; you pay the driver directly instead of through the app. Drivers keep 100% of all tips they receive.

Driver Fees

Drivers won’t encounter incidental fees, excluding normal wear-and-tear or gasoline purchases. Optional safety equipment like booster seats might be non-reimbursable. One can seek reimbursements for tolls, parking, and rider-responsible damage or soiling. 

Unlike most delivery app jobs, this platform doesn’t offer same-day payments to a linked debit card, which incurs third-party fees. 

HopSkipDrive Driver Requirements

The platform’s driver requirements are stricter than those of most ridesharing apps since you transport children and older adults without a guardian companion. Specifically, you need at least five years of caregiver experience, a clean driving record, and a background check.

The basic driver and vehicle requirements include:

  • Age: Are at least 23 years old
  • Background check: You must pass multi-agency background checks and fingerprinting. This step also includes a Child Abuse and Neglect scan.
  • Caregiving experience: Five or more years of caregiving experience, including two years with children
  • Driving experience: Minimum of three years and a clean record
  • Vehicle specifications: Own or lease a four-door vehicle over 10 years old. It must also pass an annual inspection from a certified mechanic.  

In most states, the certification process takes between 25 and 60 days with various online and in-person activities. 

How Much Does HopSkipDrive Pay?

Drivers can anticipate earning between $12 and $21 per ride, according to recent active driver on Indeed. “You have to check the app daily to book rides a week out, and they get snatched up quickly. The kids have been great so far, but they expect a lot from drivers for very little money.”

Anticipate making $1,000 per month or more by completing several rides each school day, according to several drivers. This pay is before driving expenses, and you must calculate the total trip time to estimate your effective hourly rate.

Depends on where you live , but where I am, I am able to make 300-400 dollars weekly , but that is only doing 4-5 rides a day. It is the perfect side gig for someone with a fuel efficient car. There are bonuses on rides that are urgent, so if you have time throughout the day I would definitely do it. Just make sure you plan out your day correctly, that way you are more efficient, hope this helps,” says sad-improvement-123

Your trip pay comprises several factors:

  • Base fare
  • Boosts and promotions
  • Extra wait time and driving time
  • Optional customer tips 

These wages are competitive with most delivery apps, but some drivers say they can earn more in their local market with a traditional ride-sharing platform. Consequently, you must be comfortable transporting adults who might be more troublesome if you work on nights or weekends. Still, it’s a fulfilling way to make money from your phone

The platform advertises that new drivers can earn up to $50 per hour. This earning potential is possible with back-to-school promotions that guarantee a minimum payout after completing a minimum number of rides during the promotion period. 

HopSkipDrive Reviews

Here are several driver and customer reviews from positive and negative perspectives to help gain an inside look at the platform.

“So far so good! Very pleased with the Hop Skip and drive service for my high school son. My son also stated that every driver that has picked him up has been excellent, reliable, patient, courteous, respectful, friendly, and kind,” — Sylvia S. 

“This driving job is basically an “Uber” for kids under 18. Easy to use app and a decent caring customer service team. Still paid in full for last-minute (cancellations). Plenty of opportunities in LA/Orange County areas. Scheduling kids on a regular basis is a plus and consistency and relationship with the kids.” — A Los Angeles driver on Indeed.

“I’ve been a care driver for HopSkipDrive for 4 years and have found it to be an easy and fulfilling job. It’s great that I can pick my own rides and take time off if I need to. Highly recommend!” —A Pleasanton, CA driver on Indeed.

“After spending the time to input all the data, my request for a driver was rebuffed stating that there weren’t enough drivers in our Phoenix area to support this request. Keep in mind that I was placing the request 5 days in advance, not last minute.” — AggieinAZ

“The pay is ridiculous, and booking consecutive jobs is challenging because most schools get out at the same time.This is not a regular Uber job. Many times, you have to go into schools and meet kids in the office. This adds to your time. If a job doesn’t get picked up, they try to entice you by adding a “boost’ like $2.” —A Las Vegas driver on Indeed.

“Nice atmosphere working with kiddos and providing consistency to them getting to/from school. The driver support is fairly good. You still get paid when it’s a no-show. Wish there was all-year business but usually it’s just during (the) school year.” —A Madison, WI driver on Indeed.

Alternatives to HopSkipDrive

These driving side hustles may provide more paid opportunities in your community. You may also consider these delivery tasks to make money in your free time outside of school hours:  

  • DoorDash: Deliver meals and merchandise from restaurants and stores. This platform is available nationwide, including in rural areas.
  • Instacart: Shop for and deliver grocery orders with a flexible schedule. Many supermarkets and discount retailers participate. It’s possible to be an in-store shopper with scheduled shifts in select cities.
  • Uber: Drivers may consider Uber to deliver passengers and Uber Eats for meals. The driver and vehicle requirements are more flexible as an Uber Eats driver.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are several questions that you may have before joining HopSkipDrive.

Is HopSkipDrive Safe?

The platform implements rigorous safety protocols to find eligible drivers with relevant experience and a clean background check. It also has multiple ride monitoring tools for parents to verify their child safely reaches their destination.   

How Do I Become a HopSkipDrive Driver?

You can apply online when living in an active service area. First, upload the necessary documents and complete the virtual orientation. The final steps involve an in-person background check and vehicle inspection.

Can You Make Money with HopSkipDrive?

Most drivers earn approximately $20 per ride and earn at least $1,000 monthly by driving daily. Drivers may need to claim ride requests several days in advance on a first-come, first-serve basis. Be sure to calculate the commuting costs and working time to determine if the estimated income is worth it for a particular request.

What is the HopSkipDrive cancellation policy for drivers?

Drivers receive half of the estimated payment if the parent or caregiver cancels the ride between one and eight hours before the start time. Full compensation is possible when the requester cancels within 60 minutes of pick-up. There is no compensation if the parent cancels at least eight hours in advance.

Summary

HopSkipDrive can be a safe public transit alternative for parents with one-time or recurring ride requests. It can also be a fulfilling side hustle for independent contractors who want to help families and need flexible working hours.

The app’s most significant weakness is that it only operates in select cities across the United States.

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