(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Colorado Springs School District 11 said it began utilizing the HopSkipDrive rideshare service in September amid a nationwide bus driver shortage, which may be leaving some parents wondering if the service is as safe as a bus ride to school.

HopSkipDrive is a rideshare service that utilizes “CareDrivers,” which are caregivers who have at least five years of caregiving experience and who have passed a 15-point certification process.

The certification process includes criminal and fingerprint-based background checks, child abuse and neglect screenings, and ongoing driving record checks. Drivers must also drive a four-door vehicle that is newer than 10 years old and passes an inspection by a certified mechanic.

On the parents’ side, the HopSkipDrive mobile app allows parents and caregivers visibility of their rider’s location, as well as direct communication with drivers. Parents can also view upcoming scheduled rides, pick-up and drop-off details, and driver and vehicle information including license plate numbers.

Parents who choose not to download the app will still receive text message notifications when a ride is claimed by a driver, when the driver is on their way, and when the rider has been picked up and dropped off.

As with any rideshare service, HopSkipDrive urges parents to be mindful of safety. A few things to bear in mind before the driver picks up your rider:

HopSkipDrive decal on windshield
  • Review the CareDriver and vehicle information in the app
  • Look for the Orange HopSkipDrive decal on the car’s windshield
  • Review the verification process with your rider to make sure they know the codeword the CareDriver will provide them, to ensure the driver is the correct one

In the interest of COVID-19 safety, HopSkipDrive requires that riders wear masks during the ride as long as they are able.