Ride sharing has come out of nowhere to change the way we look at transportation in this country.
Usage of this service has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. It’s estimated that 53 percent of people in the U.S. have, at one point or another, turned to ride sharing apps for their transportation needs. Uber and Lyft, the nation’s two most popular ride sharing companies, ferry over 100 million riders each month combined.
There’s another player in this segment that’s set its sights on a very specific market. That company is Zum, a ride sharing service geared specifically toward kids. Zum helps busy parents by providing convenient, safe transportation for kids who are traveling to and from school, events and daycare.
Both Volvo and BMW have recently made investments in Zum. In both cases, the investment was made via the automaker’s dedicated venture capital fund.
Founded back in 2015, Zum is based in Redwood City, a town just south of San Francisco. Since its launch, the company has provided over 3.5 million miles of rides.
Zum separates itself from the pack via the quality of its drivers. Parents want only the safest, most reliable transportation for their kids. Zum makes this consideration a top priority, and this goal guides the company’s choices regarding its drivers and their vehicles.
This ride sharing service hires carefully selected drivers, and the vetting process is strict. All drivers must have a clean driving record and previous child-care experience. Zum’s drivers must pass a driving test and are subjected to numerous background checks. The driver’s car must pass a thorough 22-point vehicle inspection.
Zum’s ride sharing service is designed to provide a more convenient alternative to traditional school buses. It broadens the range of choices available to parents and school districts.
Advanced algorithms and machine learning help Zum match riders and drivers, and this technology also allows the company to create the most efficient routes. The system is designed to provide the kind of transparency that sets a parent’s mind at ease. Via a mobile app and online dashboard, parents and schools can track each child’s journey in real time as the ride unfolds.
Currently, Zum has thousands of certified drivers spread out across California. The company claims it currently has the resources to serve 80 percent of the state’s population.
Investing in the Future
The investments from Volvo and BMW will be used to help Zum broaden its business model and ramp up its school partnerships across the country. The funding will also be used to further develop Zum’s proprietary technology
This ride sharing service added more than 100 new school districts in 2018, and it now has a presence in over 400 cities. The company has stated that it hopes to double its footprint by the 2019-2020 school year.
Zum provides a service that’s undoubtedly a godsend for parents. We’re guessing other automakers will join Volvo and BMW in putting their money behind this smartly focused ride sharing company.