Ridesharing For Kids Comes To The Mountain West

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Denver just became the first city in the region to offer an Uber-like rideshare service focused on kids. And the business model seems to be gaining some traction.

Uber and Lyft don’t allow minors to ride without an adult. A few startups are taking a stab at it but HopSkipDrive is the first to expand outside of its home state. Joanna McFarland is CEO of the California company. She said Denver was the ideal choice for that leap because it’s a fast-growing city.

“With that,” said McFarland, “comes traffic which becomes a problem for parents who may be trying to get to work while also trying to get their kids to school.”

McFarland said the bulk of their business is providing rides to and from school.

She said they’ve dealt with the safety concerns that have dogged other kid-focused ride-share companies by making sure each driver is interviewed, fingerprinted, background-checked, and shows a resume with at least 5 years of childcare experience.

“We really do more than most families do to vet a nanny or babysitter,” McFarland says.

Of course, that means the driver gets paid more and the cost of your ride will be higher too.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.