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HopSkipDrive: Misconceptions vs. reality

Change is tough, especially change in an industry long dominated by a few players.  HopSkipDrive is a new kind of non-routine student transportation solution, and a new way of doing things can breed market misconceptions.

We’ve been hearing a lot of inaccurate information about what we do, and how we do it. We want to clear up these misconceptions so school districts and other organizations that are considering partnering with us can make the most informed choice.

Here are some common HopSkipDrive misconceptions, and the truth about our safe school transportation solution.

Misconception: HopSkipDrive is solely intended for parent-initiated trips.

The truth:

We have adapted the solution we created for families, built with safety at its core, into a dedicated solution for schools, districts and counties.

These organizations account for the vast majority of the daily trips on our platform, and we have designed tools, resources and services to meet their needs.

Our flexible, dynamic solution is perfect for alternative student transportation needs, including students experiencing homelessness who are designated McKinney-Vento, students living in foster care, youth who have IEPs with transportation requirements, students enrolled in career and technical education programs, and more.

Our enterprise platform enables student transportation staff to book one-time or repeating rides within minutes, while our Client Services team is specifically trained to work with student transportation officials.

All of that being said, we haven’t lost our focus on the parent experience: Parents love when districts use HopSkipDrive to book student rides because they get unparalleled, real-time visibility into their child’s ride information, ETAs and ride location.

Not only [does HopSkipDrive] reduce the district’s overall transportation costs, but offering this service to students with specialized transportation needs will help to shorten commute times meaning less time in transit and more time learning.

—Director of Federal Programs & Academic Compliance at Keller Independent School District.

Misconception: HopSkipDrive Riders get a different driver every day. Other companies can promise the same driver every day.

The truth:

We guarantee every ride booked will be fulfilled by a qualified and experienced CareDriver who has a minimum of five years of caregiving experience.

HopSkipDrive’s flexibility means we can often arrange rides for the very next day! School transportation personnel never have to scramble to find last-minute drivers or replacements.

Even with this flexibility, HopSkipDrive Riders still only experience an average of 1 to 3 CareDrivers over 90 day, which is a far cry from a different driver every day.

HopSkipDrive also recognizes that there is more to a consistent ride experience than just the driver. Our safety-driven ride policies and procedures ensure Riders always have a consistent experience with every CareDriver.

Given the well-known industry challenges around bus driver shortages, it’s hard for anyone to promise that the same driver will pick up a student every day of the school year.

Do the companies that guarantee the same driver every single day deliver on that commitment? Or are they over-promising and under-delivering?

Misconception: HopSkipDrive can only arrange routes for a certain number of students based on driver supply. HopSkipDrive can't accommodate any repeating rides.

The truth: 

We guarantee all student rides booked will be fulfilled. 

The beauty of our flexible driver supply is that we can always fill rides, even on eight hours notice. And our driver supply is scalable, which means it will increase and decrease based on the needs of our clients.

HopSkipDrive offers the option to easily schedule repeating rides. In fact, many of the student rides arranged on our platform are repeating.

Misconception:  HopSkipDrive is a PUC-licensed company with no specific student transportation credentials.

The truth: 

As a Transportation Network Company (TNC), HopSkipDrive is licensed in each state and highly regulated by either public utilities or state transportation commissions (dependent on the state). HopSkipDrive meets the state Department of Education requirements in service areas where applicable.

In contrast, many alternative student transportation solutions, including broker services, aren’t strictly regulated or licensed by the state.

We always recommend checking if your alternative transportation solution is licensed or regulated. If so, by who and what was the process to become approved? The answers might surprise you . . . 

Misconception: HopSkipDrive has personal, not commercial, insurance coverage.

The truth:

HopSkipDrive provides commercial insurance for all rides conducted on the HopSkipDrive platform that exceeds state-required minimums in each market.  We maintain comprehensive commercial liability coverage that far exceeds regulatory requirements.

In addition, all HopSkipDrive CareDrivers are required to maintain personal automobile insurance coverage consistent with state laws, and must submit proof of coverage on an ongoing basis.

Misconception: Contracting directly with individual drivers is risky.

The truth:   

We, and our clients, have a direct line to CareDrivers. We offer unparalleled transparency, visibility and communication between us, CareDrivers, Ride Organizers and users associated with a Rider’s account.

Ride Organizers and CareDrivers can communicate with each other through phone calls or chats within the app; we ensure phone numbers are masked to protect privacy. They can also communicate with us directly — we’re always a phone call or chat away.

Compare this to a broker model, where communication has to trickle down from the broker company, to the actual transportation provider, to the driver. How can parents, families, student transportation staff and drivers communicate effectively this way? How much visibility do brokers actually provide into rides and the Rider experience?

We challenge the notion that W2 employees are somehow safer than qualified and background-checked independent contractors. We also challenge the idea that the broker model is safer when brokers, by definition, don’t have employees providing transportation.

Worker classification in itself doesn’t make an operation safer; it takes an organizational focus on safety through technology and procedures. Safety must come from the top of the organization down. Our safety features, including our Safe Ride Support System and 15-point CareDriver certification process, are best in class.

Bonus: Because we’ve cut out the layers of individuals or entities involved in each ride, you won’t have to pay all the fees, overhead costs and expenses that broker companies charge.

Interested in learning more about how HopSkipDrive can help your organization with its unique transportation needs?


Interested in learning more about HopSkipDrive’s non-routine student transportation solution?

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