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Los Angeles Kids Are Getting Their Own Ridesharing Service

Ridesharing for kids with HopSkipDrive (via Facebook)
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While some Los Angeles parents have been trusting Uber and Lyft to chauffeur their offspring around the city, HopSkipDrive, a new ridesharing service hopes to offer a safer alternative.

The new ridesharing start-up, created by three Los Angeles mothers, aims to help busy parents shuttle their kids around to wherever their overbooked day takes them. Concerns may be growing over the safety of ridesharing services, but the new service aims provide a more secure transportation option with the help of an extensive driver vetting process and other safety precautions.

Starting out as a small pilot program just last November, HopSkipDrive now covers the Greater Los Angeles area and consists of 11 employees, 100 contracted drivers and over 1000 customers, reports the L.A Times. Though some parents might still be reluctant to put their trust in a stranger to drive their kids around town, the company places a huge emphasis on safety.

Where Uber and most other ridesharing companies only require drivers to meet pretty lax requirements, HopSkipDrive requires drivers to have at least five years of childcare experience, undergo background checks, vehicle inspections and in-person screenings.

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Rides with HopeSkipDrive are also covered by specific insurance for transporting minors, and parents receive a photo and information about the driver, while the kids and drivers share a personalized password to help ensure that they're being picked up by the right person. The company has partnered with Zendrive, an auto analytics app, to monitor driver behavior and safety on the road.

Shuddle, a similar ridesharing program designed for children and the elderly has been gaining steady traction up in San Francisco, so there's a good chance the trend will continue in other cities. Though given the stringent requirements for drivers, it's unlikely to expand at quite the same rate as other ridesharing apps.

Maybe HopSkipDrive will even inspire other ridesharing apps to improve their driver vetting process.