HopSkipDrive, a kid-friendly ride service, comes to Washington

Los Angeles-based HopSkipDrive is bringing its youth transportation car service to Washington and said it will make life easier for busy Beltway parents.

The service uses highly-vetted drivers, called “CareDrivers,” who pass a 15-point certification process that includes fingerprinting, background checks against criminal and sex offender databases and driving record checks through the DMV.

Each driver has at least five years of caregiving experience.

HopSkipDrive matches a parents’ pickup request to a CareDriver and sends parents a picture and driver profile to share with their children before the ride.

Rides are booked from start to finish through the mobile app, while a human support team monitors rides in real time. Parents also get pickup and drop-off alerts.

Prices start at $20, about the going hourly rate for a baby sitter.

HopSkipDrive is now live in Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County and will launch within the next few weeks in the District. It will expand to the Maryland suburbs later this year.

“In areas like the D.C. metro region, it can be incredibly stressful, if not impossible, for parents to get their children to school and also get to work on time,” said founder Joanna McFarland.

“It is a key reason parents, and especially women, drop out of the workforce,” she said.

The service can transport children to school and most other destinations they need to go, from soccer practice to camp to music lessons. Parents can also set up scheduled, recurring rides.

HopSkipDrive, founded in 2014, already operates in several California and Colorado communities.

It said it has driven more than 625,000 children since its founding.

The Washington-area launch is its first on the East Coast.

The company also has partnerships with more than 150 schools and school districts for specialized transportation needs.

For parents, rides for their children can be reserved in as little as eight hours in advance, or by 7 p.m. the night before morning rides.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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