Ride-sharing service for school kids gaining popularity

Kidz-CarpoolSUBANG JAYA: New local ride-sharing service for children, Kidz Carpool, isn’t a household name like Uber or Grab, but it looks to be headed that way soon.

Founded last year by two friends, Patrick Francis and Simon Gabriel, Kidz Carpool caters to parents who wish to get their children to school in the comfort and safety of a private vehicle.

In an interview with FMT, Patrick explained that the company matched parents with drivers through the Kidz Carpool app. It is a system designed to address the parents’ safety and security concerns.

Unlike other ride-sharing services, Kidz Carpool isn’t an ad-hoc service. Once the parent selects the driver, that driver will be the only one ferrying the child to school and back.

Parents can opt for a one-way or return trip for their children, Monday to Friday, at charges ranging from RM120 to RM220 per child monthly.

Kidz-Carpool3

“Parents can download the app for free. We will provide a list of drivers who live nearby, along with their details, like the driver’s name, address, vehicle type, and licence and insurance information.”

Patrick checks this information when he interviews drivers wishing to sign up for Kidz Carpool.

“Our system will find drivers for parents, according to the parents’ needs and driver availability.

“Our drivers must commit to a fixed schedule that they and the parents decide on.”

This is because some drivers, such as those who hold another job, may only be able to drive in the mornings, on their way to work, while others, such as retirees or homemakers, are able to drive any time.

“Our system will show parents which of the drivers are available to meet their demands. From there, they can sign up for the service and we’ll provide them with the driver’s contact number.

“The parents are allowed to meet the driver. If they’re comfortable with the driver, they can start using the service. If they cannot find a driver they are comfortable with, we’ll refund their money.”

Patrick said the the Kidz Carpool app allowed parents to keep track of their child’s journey in real-time and alert them when the child was picked up or dropped off. The child is also required to wear a seat belt at all times.

On their part, the parents are to inform the school or tuition centre that a Kidz Carpool driver will be picking up the child. For easy identification, the driver will wear a name tag bearing his identity card number and car details.

The drivers must arrive at the pick-up or drop-off destination at least five minutes ahead of schedule and may not carry other passengers besides Kidz Carpool clients.

“So far, the response to the service and the feedback we’ve received from parents has been very encouraging. Our youngest passenger is only three years and nine months old.”

He said many appreciated the fact that their children didn’t have to cram into a school bus or to get up hours earlier to catch it.

Patrick said Kidz Carpool approached thousands of potential clients each month through schools and residents’ associations. It is seeing “double-digit” growth in the number of parents signing up for the service.

For now, the service is only available in the Klang Valley, but the owners, having received many requests for it in other states, will expand it nationwide in due time.