OPINION COLUMNS

Wanted: kid car service

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, November 11, 2017
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Heads up, entrepreneurs: I have an idea for you.

While burning gas and time in the school pick-up lines, I often fantasize about a kid Uber.

It would primarily serve kids who are too old for after-school care but who can’t yet drive. They’re old enough to stay home, but there’s no easy way for them to get there, a quandary for working parents.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

Luckily, the Messenger is about seven minutes from my kids’ schools, but by the time I leave the office, stop at two campuses, sit through traffic associated with those campuses, drive to my house and then back to the office, it often eats up more time than I have. And on many days, the kids have after-school activities that require two additional stops before my return to the paper.

In the scheme of things, it’s not a huge deal time-wise because newspapering is a 24/7 job, so I’m putting in my hours and then-some … it’s more about convenience.

I know there are a lot of parents facing the same issue. It’s not always easy to drop what you’re doing for the afternoon runaround, therefore, a kid Uber would be perfect.

Here’s how I envision it: responsible adults, who have passed a background check, would pick up students in Suburbans or 15-passenger vans and drive them home. In a perfect world, they would also be available to drive the kids to their after-school activities and maybe even pick them up from those activities.

It could even be on an as needed basis. On the days you need help, you dial up kid Uber. On more flexible work days, you still do pick-up yourself.

Granted, I wouldn’t want “just anybody” picking up my kids, so ideally, it would be a stay-at-home parent already picking up their own kids, looking to make some extra cash and run everyone else’s kids around, too.

In the past, we’ve been fortunate to have a teenage family friend help us out, but that’s not always easy to arrange because they have their own set of activities and obligations. Some folks might even suggest kids just ride the bus, but that’s not necessarily practical either. In some cases, they’d be on the bus route so long, they wouldn’t be able to make those after-school workouts, dance classes or music instruction.

So … kid Uber to the rescue, right?

We’ve even joked with other parents that whoever first gets their license in my son’s class better get a huge van because we’ll be calling on that kid to haul everyone else around. (Obviously, this wouldn’t be any parent’s first choice, but there are crazed days where any one of us might OK it.)

I realize there are all kinds of things to consider with kid Uber – liability, insurance, the general hassle of dealing with a bunch of kids that don’t belong to you … But I trust that some brave soul with money to invest might be able to work out those issues and get this thing off the ground.

There’s a potential gold mine here, folks. So someone, please, run with the idea.

I’ll be your first customer.

Kristen Tribe is assistant publisher and editor of the Messenger.

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