Given today’s technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), we have been able to effectively run our e-Business, thereby linking up all parties concerned within the supply chain for the sake of concerted work and effective real-time monitoring of the transaction status, a factor that has allowed for an emergence of multiple new business models going strong today such as Uber Taxi (a digital platform that perfectly, safely and transparently matches demand with supply). There is, besides, a host of start-up businesses that have adjusted themselves to reflect the digital age, including the one we are touching on in this article.
“HopSkipDrive” – a start-up business that is an extension of Uber Taxi’s business model or, to say it simply, Uber Taxi for kids. Imagine a family with the parents who are both working hard to ensure sufficient income to cover their household expenses and two kids, 9 and 11 years old, who have to take special lessons or have other supplementary activities, be they skill- or knowledge-oriented. Imagine also an incident when neither of the parents – both holding full-time jobs – can take a leave of absence so that either one or both of them could pick up the kids. Worse still, they would be very worried to let the kids go by themselves via public transport services. We are talking about the pain point, the starting point of HopSkipDrive mentioned above.
HopSkipDrive or Taxi For Kids (aged 7 – 17) was founded in 2016 by three mothers living in Los Angeles, California – a metropolis as well as the second most populous city in the U.S. – each concerned for the travel safety of her children. With the starting capital of $ 3.9 million, HopSkipDrive proves capable of addressing the needs of busy parents who have difficulties managing their time driving their kids from place to place. No matter how late at night and regardless of the distance, HopSkipDrive provides safe driving service for kids as the drivers must be female and married having no criminal record who have been screened, selected and registered. Besides, they must fulfill all requirements as if they were nannies or babysitters.
Parents can plan and schedule pick-up time for their kids in advance through arrangements with the driver of HopSkipDrive. Her picture and personal record are sent to the parents along with the code word prior to the taxi service for identification purposes. The information will then be relayed to the kids, daycare center and/or school where the kids are to be picked up at the start of the trip.
HopSkipDrvie gives top priority to safety as this model of business is kids-centered and thus must be absolutely error-free. Customers of HopSkipDrive are repeatedly notified every time they use the service is “You can get in only if the car displays the HopSkipDrive flag, the driver wears the company uniform and can correctly confirm the code word with you.” A HopSkipDrive driver is required to be a member of TrustLine Registry, a database for nannies or babysitters who have been subjected to both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint criminal background checks and checks by the Department of Justice of the State of California. In addition, she must comply with the rules and regulations as well as HopSkipDrive’s own 15 requirements such as being a female with the age of 23 or older who is fond of kids, has at least five years of experience in taking care of kids and has no record of drinking or taking drugs.
In addition, thanks to advanced technology, parents are able to track and monitor the status of their children’s taxi ride in real time via applications and digital in-car active camera. They can thus monitor the driver’s behavior and action throughout the ride (e.g. whether she chats on the cell phone and the like).
What makes HopSkipDrive – the startup business that provides an “on-demand transportation service” – interesting and differentiates it from other taxi service providers such as Uber, Limo and Lyft is the provision of service value with a difference as well as a unique challenge, the service provision that not only involves picking up passengers and getting them to their destination points but also gives personal care not available from other services in the same market, according to Jonna McFarland, a HopSkipDrive executive.
More than 1,000 parents a day are current HopSkipDrive customers, making it an interesting niche market that is steadily growing. Thanks to modern technology, their ability to track the status, location and situation on-line during operations in real time has resulted in an increase in the trust and confidence in the service which can squarely address their needs. Still, HopSkipDrive is a fledgling enterprise. It remains to be seen whether, in the long run, the existing startup would thrive or be faced with other competing startup business models or future disruptions in the logistics industry.
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Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics
References and pictures credits techcrunch.com, latimes.com, trustline.org, ridesharing.co, pexel.com