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There are now Uber-like services for kids, and they're coming to your city


Getting your kids to soccer practice and yourself to work can seem like rocket science, but companies like Kango and HopSkipDrive are here to solve that problem for you.

Both ride-share applications specialize in taking kids from point A to point B without you having to be in the car.

"It's almost like a concierge service, versus a Lyft or an Uber where you're maybe driving multiple passengers to multiple locations," said Janet Quiñonez, an L.A.-area driver for Kango. "It feels a little unsafe to have to be continually checking my phone for who I need to pick up next."

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Users can also request carpools on both services to reduce the cost of a ride.

Hop Skip Drive, like Kango, makes drivers undergo a "comprehensive" background check and screening.

The services are a "life saver" for parents whose carefully-planned carpools fall through at the last minute. Uber doesn't allow minors to use their service alone, although that hasn't stopped some parents from hailing rides for their unaccompanied kids nonetheless.

I work, and it's very hard for me to take her to a different activity that she has after school.
Josefina, Los Angeles mother

That's why Kango and Hop Skip Drive are hoping their kid-friendly drivers are enough to convince parents. But as any parent knows, they know it's going to take a lot of convincing.

"No, I don't think I would trust anyone to take my children unless I knew them personally," said Elizabeth, a Los Angeles, California, mom.

Others are willing to try it.

"I will. I will use it," said Josefina, another L.A. mother."Because I work, and it's very hard for me to take her to a different activity that she has after school."

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Parents can request a ride via the app the day of or arrange it weeks in advance.

Both companies provide drivers insurance, require it on the driver's vehicle and they also let parents track the drivers.

"You can talk to the parents continually throughout the ride," said Quiñonez. "They can see where you are in the ride, which I think they really like that peace of mind."

Right now, both companies only operate out of L.A. and San Francisco. Kango chauffeurs kids of any age. HopSkipDrive is age 6 and up. Children under 2 years old must ride with a parent or guardian. Kango and HopSkipDrive hope to expand service to other cities.

Neither company would reveal ridership numbers, but a spokesperson for HopSkipDrive told Circa the company has expanded from one to three markets since 2015 because of increased demand.

Kango is also partnering with Chrysler to give drivers minivans they can use to carpool multiple kids.

"Kango screens for drivers first, vehicles second," said Sara Schaer, co-founder of Kango . "This is a way for us to ensure that we have more vehicles that can drive groups of kids, for example for schools and after school programs."

Kango is teaming up with Chrysler to equip drivers with 2017 Pacificas.

Schaer says Kango is the most "complete solution for parents needing family transportation—with or without childcare." It also provides rides seven days a week and both services allow for same-day requests, as long as you make them ahead of time.

So how about the price?

HopSkipDrive charges a $16 minimum fare for a single family. If you want to just carpool, that brings it down to about $7. Kango charges a $9 monthly "introductory membership" fee, and the ride varies by time and distance plus a $1 "safe ride" fee. Kango also has a minimum fare of $16. Kango offers car seats if you request them.

Kango also offers baby-sitting services from its drivers, which you can book through the app.

"The kids are pretty excited about it, too," says Quiñonez, who has already been booked for rides as far as three weeks out. "And of course the parents are [excited, too] because you're saving the day. You're coming in and rescuing them in a moment where they need the ride service."

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