A few months ago, we were completely stuck with getting my son home from school. There was no aftercare, no family on hand to help, and work commitments that couldn’t be bent to leave the office even for a bit.
Fortunately, a friend helped us out, but I couldn’t stop wondering about a short-term solution when you’re stuck, and there’s no one to shlep your kids. I tweeted Uber Johannesburg, asking if they would ever consider a lift service for kids. I never got a response, but I recently read about Shuddle, an Uber-type service in America, that caters to kids, which made me hopeful that something like this could work, and maybe even come here one day.
Shuddle connects drivers with passengers through a smartphone app, and is meant for children, though not limited to them. Shuddle drivers are screened carefully, and are mix of caregivers who have experience working with kids, such as teachers, nannies, babysitters, counsellors and parents.
How it works is like this:
- Parents download the app and sign up for a Shuddle Pass membership, which costs $9 a month, plus fares for each ride.
- Rides can be scheduled anywhere from a day to a week in advance through the app.
- The driver arrives and answers a secret word chosen by the family to confirm their identity as a Shuddle driver.
- Parents can watch the progress of their kids in real time on their phones.
- Once the ride is over, parents get a message from Shuddle telling them their kids have reached their destination.
Passengers should be able to enter and exit a car with limited assistance, be comfortable travelling without parental supervision and legally able to ride without a booster seat. They also need a basic phone that can receive text messages, and the family needs a secret word that the driver will say in order to confirm their identity.
Does this sound like the perfect solution to you? Or a disaster waiting to happen? Take the poll here…