Any parent knows there's simply never enough time in the day. Timmy needs to be at practice at five, but Susie has piano lessons at 5:30. Plus, you have a meeting to get to all the way across town. What to do?
A new service, launching today in San Francisco, wants to be the solution. It's called Shuddle, and it's kind of like Uber for kids.
Shuddle allows parents to schedule rides for their kids via an app. At this point, it's just scheduling – on-demand rides aren't yet offered. Most rides need to be booked about a week in advance. There's a $9-a-month membership fee on top of whatever the rides cost. Like Uber, Lyft, and the like, all payments are made via credit card linked to the app.
At this point, you're probably wondering how a company thinks people will be cool with shoving their kids in a car with a stranger, but that's what Shuddle is banking on.
Shuddle promises that "your child is safe with us." They back up that claim by pointing to things like real-time GPS tracking, vehicle inspections, highly-scrutinized drivers, hands-on training, and custom kid-transport insurance that no other ridesharing company can offer.
According to Shuddle, its drivers "aren’t just anyone."
"We screen for friendly and reliable caregivers who have experience working with kids like nannies, teachers, babysitters, counselors and parents."
Shuddle's hiring process includes face-to-face interviews, criminal background checks, vehicle inspections, in-person training, and gathering references from past employers. According to Re/code, Shuddle is launching with about 100 drivers – all of whom are women. That's likely due to the requirement that all Shuddle drivers have some sort of childcare experience.
Shuddle was founded by Sidecar co-founder Nick Allen, so it already has a pedigree in the ridesharing space. And like on-demand car services for adults, Shuddle sounds like a great idea. Who couldn't use an extra set of wheels to shuttle their kids around town?
Of course, these are people's kids we're talking about here. And no six-point screening process is going to assuage the fears of some parents. Companies like Uber also promise safe rides, and as we know, that's not a promise they can't always keep.
Shuddle is going to have to prove itself extra safe and extra reliable – but it's clear the market for rides for kids with busy parents is there.
Image via Shuddle