SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The bane of many parents’ existence is chauffeuring their kids to and from soccer practices, school and play dates. Now one San Francisco start-up wants to banish some of those transportation headaches by connecting trusted drivers with families through a smartphone app.
Nick Allen, one of the founders behind Sidecar, created the service with children in mind. Although entrusting strangers to take kids around town may not sound appealing, Shuddle says its hiring process for drivers is rigorous. Drivers must pass national and local background checks, a vehicle inspection, a face-to-face interview and submit two references confirming that they have experience working with children.
“We screen for friendly and reliable caregivers who have experience working with kids like nannies, teachers, babysitters, counselors and parents,” Shuddle explains on its website.
Ordering a Shuddle works like this:
1. Parents download the app and sign up for Shuddle Pass membership, which costs $9 a month.
2. Rides can be scheduled at least a day in advance or a week ahead ahead of time.
3. The driver arrives and answers a secret word chosen by the family to confirm their identity as a Shuddle driver.
4. Parents can track the ride in real-time on their phones.
5. Once the child reaches their final destination, a message is sent to parents to confirm that the ride has ended safely.
The service is only available in San Francisco, but the company, which is backed by $2.6 million in venture capital funding, has plans to expand to more cities in the future.
The idea for Shuddle originally came from the growing national trend of parents ordering Ubers for their kids. But unlike Uber and Lyft, Shuddle has insurance to cover passengers under the age of 18.