School is back in session but that’s both a good and bad thing. Good because now the kids won’t be dying from boredom but bad because that means the parent taxi service must resume service. Having only one child, I don’t have too much running around to deal with. But, for some unknown reason, most of her lessons and extra classes always seem to happen during rush hour, leaving me to spend a good portion of the day just in local city traffic. What a waste of time and energy! If you have more than one child to cart around to this appointment or that, I feel for you.
Shuddle – Arranged Rides for Kids
Fortunately, there’s a ride service that will save you time and provide that extra “you” when you need it. Shuddle ride service was specifically created to take your kids here and there so you don’t have to. Unlike other services that simply assigns the driver closest to you at any given moment, Shuddle rides are scheduled ahead of time so you know exactly your child(ren) will be with. Only drivers that pass a background check, go through fingerprinting, and have experience in some form of childcare (teacher, caregiver, nanny, etc.) are approved for rides.
Sending my daughter off in a stranger’s car is not the most welcome idea in the world. Fortunately, it’s very easy for kids to tell which car to get into. Shuddle cars are clearly marked and the driver has a secret word that will identify them (entered by you in the app). Also, the majority of drivers are women. While that in itself doesn’t dispel worry completely, it is just one more factor that helps calm the nerves.
To get started, you need to have an iOS or Android phone. Download the app and put in your information and that of your child. Your child does need to have a phone to get text alerts about their ride but it does not have to be a smartphone. When you enter locations, make sure to take advantage of the note section to be as specific as possible regarding where your child needs to be picked up or dropped off. Drivers can sign kids out of activities for you, escort them to practice, and wait in parking queues at school. Prices start at $8 (carpool) and $12 (single rider).
Make sure you schedule a ride as soon as you can. If you book a ride after 12pm the day before, an extra $10 will be added to the far. Waiting until the last minute may mean no drivers are available near you as an on-demand ride is not possible with Shuddle. I actually forgot to book a ride back home and had to call my husband (who was fortunately home that day) to come get us after the movie was over 😛
Shuddle – Text Messages & Instant Updates
When the driver was almost at our place, both my daughter and I received text messages on our phones. One problem was that the text message said the car was gray but the photo showed it was blue (the car turned out to be blue).
I was also able to track exactly where the driver’s car went and if it was en route to the assigned destination. At first the real-time GPS map didn’t come up but it did after a few minutes. I hope this and the car color issue get ironed out as the app continues to be improved upon.
The driver came on time, was friendly, fit the description we were texted beforehand, and the ride went smoothly. My daughter also had to confirm her identity as the passenger by tapping a button on the driver’s phone. At the destination, I received another message when they arrived.
A new feature was also introduced recently that would benefit a lot of parents. A carpool option has been added, making rides to and from school or other activities less expensive for parents. So far, service is only available in six counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. The more support the company receives, the more chances the service area will grow to somewhere near you.
The experience we had was really good and I feel much more comfortable using Shuddle than any other ride service. Strict policies (similar those in any profession that involves working with children) are followed before and after driver approval and I love that the parent can virtually follow their rides. If you need help juggling the back to school schedule, try enlisting Shuddle for some transportation help.
Get a free ride!