Buggy is first to market with the tech-powered school van concept in the country, at least that we are aware of. As a result, the market for door-to-door service is wide open and largely under-served. With Uber and Lyft having all but solved adult transportation, new startups are looking to tackle the obvious missing demographic: children. Notable companies like HopSkipDrive and ZumRides have been addressing this issue on the west coast with an Uber-for-kids model that is costlier than Buggy, but also provides quicker rides.
When I first heard about these companies, I thought “amazing idea, but not an ideal setup for small children”. The reason being that little kids in particular feel more comfortable having the same driver, or at aleast a rotation of familiar ones. While these companies do attempt to connect kids to a steady driver, it seems that there’s a lot of variability, simply by virtue of being “on demand.” They are selling flexibility and convenience, with less commitment required of the parents than Buggy does. The appeal is clear, but whether they can penetrate the market of preschool or young school aged children remains to be seen.
While committing to a full year can overwhelm some parents, it’s a necessary component of the Buggy model. This allows kids to adjust to their new route and get to know both the driver and fellow riders. For the parents, it provides continuity in the route so they can better plan their child’s morning and afternoon schedules. While our “competitors” allow parents to hop on and off the service, that simply doesn’t work when you are operating Mercedes Sprinter vans.
Another aspect of Buggy that differs from competitors is the vehicles we procure--Sprinter vans. These cans come equipped with sophisticated collission interference software, and by their sheet size are safer than your average car. Zum Rides and the uber-for-kids models rely on drivers’ vehicles on their platform. This means that your child would be sharing their ride with 2 or 3 kids, as opposed to 10 like with Buggy. It also means that your children are riding in a van that has merely been vetted by the platform, not managed by a company. I’m sure they have methods for ensuring their vehicles are safe, but it’s definitely not the same level of oversight as Buggy has.
Buggy’s model doesn’t scare quit as easily as a platform, but we are convinced that operating luxury school vans that we own and manage provides the safest transportation option for your precious cargo.
The Buggy Team