Have you ever found yourself frantically driving to one kid’s baseball practice, throwing sandwiches at your kids in the backseat to make them eat dinner at 4:45, and praying for no traffic because you also need to get another kid to gymnastics by 5:30? And do you also ever wonder how in the heck there isn’t a better system out there for all of this? Well one North Carolina mom was tired of being in that exact same scenario — she went ahead and did something about it.
Stacy Shannon, a single mom of three kids from Cary, North Carolina, is the genius behind a new app called GoKart that’s making life easier for busy parents in her home state. When she was finding it hard to get her kids to all their activities and line up carpools, she had an epiphany. As she recently shared with The News & Observer, Shannon found herself wondering, “Why isn’t there Uber, but for kids? Like if Uber and Care.com had a baby.”
So she created one.
Obviously, she had some challenges to face from the onset. For starters: How would this company work? Would parents really let their kids ride in cars with adults they didn’t know? How would she get the word out?
Thanks to social media ads and the local news running a story on GoKart, word spread quickly. But as Shannon told The News & Observer, some parents did respond negatively, saying, “You’re crazy if you think I’m putting my kids with a stranger.” So she knew she had to do this the right way.
“All of my drivers have at least five years of childcare experience,” says Shannon, when asked how she guarantees the drivers are safe. “They have to know how to navigate a carpool line and talk to kids about their day. All of my drivers are parents or grandparents. [I also run] seven-year federal and multi-jurisdictional background checks and DMV checks. I personally interview every single driver. I ask, ‘Would I want this driver driving my children?’”
She tells Babble that from the beginning, her goal has always been “to provide a safe and reliable option for children’s transportation,” while helping parents support their kids’ involvement in activities.
“We want readers to know that we understand what it feels like to be a parent,” Shannon adds. “As a mother of three, I know the level of trust a parent puts in someone watching their kids. That’s why I created a company that performs the highest level of background checks and I personally interview all drivers. If I wouldn’t trust someone driving my own kids, then I wouldn’t trust them with yours.”
So how does GoKart work, exactly? Shannon says the service is similar to how other ride share services function. Parents can use the app to book a ride for their child, much like you would for an Uber or Lyft ride. For now, payments can be made via PayPal, though Shannon does note that she plans to be converting to stripe when GoKart’s new iOS app comes out next month.
“I handle all incoming orders and find a driver in that area that I know will be a good fit for that family,” Shannon says. “What sets us apart from other ride share companies is the level of safety we provide.”
If you’re curious about the cost, Shannon explains that parents pay $15 for the first five miles, and after that it’s $1.25 per mile.
It’s a good deal for the drivers, too.
“Drivers get 70 percent of the fare,” Shannon explains. “If the parent is going to book morning and afternoon five days a week all year, I’ll give them a volume discount.”
As a mother of three kids, this idea sounds pretty amazing. Over the last six weeks, we’ve been out of our house at least four nights a week, carting kids to practice, games, horse-back riding, Boy Scouts … the list goes on. The logistics of scheduling, carpooling, and timing the drop-off and pickup down to the minute is enough to give any parent a daily headache.
But imagine having a safe, reliable driver dropping off your child at her piano lessons and then picking her up 90 minutes later, totally taking that off your plate for the evening? Now parents in the Charlotte area, including cities and towns like Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Chatham County, Wake Forest, and Apex can do just that, thanks to GoKart.
I don’t know about you, but I’m majorly jealous right now — and
Uber for kids! Genius.