What you should know about ride-sharing services for kids in Houston

HOUSTON – School, sports, dance -- keeping up with your kids' activities is not easy, and getting them to required practices and meetings may be impossible if you're working. Some parents need a little help.

Now there are a few options depending on where your child needs to go. 

Kool Kids Transportation

When Tabitha Martin opened the company four years ago, it only took two weeks of advertising to fill her entire schedule. She transports kids in Pearland and Alvin in 15-passenger vans. 

“We pick them at their front door. We drop them off at their front door,” Martin explained. “And once they're in and the door is shut, we send their mothers communication that they're in the house safely.”

A one-way trip up to 4 miles Monday through Friday costs $45 a week. A round trip for the same distance is $65.

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Hop, Skip, Drive

This ride-sharing service caters to children ages 6 and older. It just started in Houston in August; but the company, based in Los Angeles, has been shuttling kids for five years.

There's a booster seat in every vehicle and a Hop, Skip, Drive care driver with at least five years of caregiving experience.

“As a full-time working mom, I was really struggling, trying to get my kids where they needed to go, said founder Joanna McFarland. “I just needed to get my son to karate on Thursday at 3 o'clock.”

Hop, Skip, Drive is now operating in Harris and Fort Bend counties. It’s an app and a website that lets you schedule rides for your children eight hours in advance. You can type in special instructions, asking the driver to hand your child off to a coach, for example.

McFarland said there are other built-in safety features other ride-sharing services don't offer.

“You get a picture and a profile of your driver,” she explained. “You can share that with your child. You can also share that with the school, so the school knows the care driver is authorized to pick up your child.”

Parents receive notifications and can track the entire ride on the app.

McFarland said 95% of the care drivers are women, and they each go through an extensive background-checking system.

“So they're moms, they're teachers, they're nannies ... so, they're used to working with kids,” McFarland said.

Hop, Skip, Drive rides in Houston start at $17 and go up depending on time and distance.

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