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Unique Parent-Driven School Lift Service Launches

As parents shift gears to get ready for the new school year, an innovative new app may help them not be driven around the bend trying to organise lifts for their children.  The Ride-sharing app is a unique lift service for school children that offers a convenient, affordable, and safe way to get them to and from school and after-school activities. 

The newly launched rides lift service, which is hosted in the d6 Connect app, is a parent ride-share service that links parents who are already making trips to and from school or extramural activities – and able to ferry more children in their car – with parents in their community looking for a ride for their child.

Created for parents by a parent

Juggling lifts to school, sports and extramural activities can be challenging, especially if you are having to drop off and collect your children at multiple destinations, while still managing your own work and household demands.  The Ride-sharing initiative was conceptualised by Theuns Venter, a busy dad who was looking for a safe solution to the constant school lift hustle.

“I have four kids at four different schools and both my wife and I work full-time,” explains Venter.  “One night I was waiting outside the school at 8pm to collect my daughter once again from her weekly choir practice.  Watching the scholars come out and all get into separate cars, it struck me that I would be more than willing to drop off some of those kids, if those parents could do the same for me the following week. And so the seed was planted – what if parents had a platform on which they could load their trips and the amount of extra space they have in their car to lift other children going to the same destination?”

For Venter, the value lies in the fact that not just anybody can get on to the platform and transport kids. “Parents who offer lifts are most likely to have their own child in the car so there is already that element of trust.  Plus it’s a closed community and you are able to choose who you want to send your child with,” he says.  “It really is a ‘help me, help you’ situation.”

How it works

Ladien van Zyl, the product owner of the Ride-sharing app, explains that much like other ride-hailing apps, riders and drivers register their profiles in the app and the rider (parent) loads a credit or debit card so payment is a breeze. The big difference is that only parents that are connected to that specific d6 Connect school community will be able to create and book trips. Riders then load their children’s details, including a unique pass phrase that the driver will use when collecting your child so that they know they are with a registered driver that is also a parent from the school.  “From there you can view all available rides for a specific day, select the trip and share the details of the trip with your child.  You decide who your child (known as a Zipalong in the app) will travel with and you can track the trip on a map at any time and will receive notifications alerting you when your child has been picked up and dropped off.”

“Covid-19 safety protocols will also be followed at all times, with drivers and children being required to wear masks and sanitise before entering the vehicle.  Vehicle seating capacity is also restricted to ensure space between passengers,” says Van Zyl.

“What sets this new ride-sharing service apart from any other ride-hailing offerings is that the parents on the lifting network must all be registered parents at the same school or community, ensuring a trusted lift service for your precious cargo!  The process is managed within the safe d6 Connect app environment and is only available to parents that use the app and have children at schools that use d6 Connect.”

“The success of the app literally lies in the hands of the parents,” says Van Zyl, adding that it’s crucial for the drivers to load their trips. “If parents don’t load their trips, other parents cannot book lifts. The more parents load their trips, the more people can use the service and the more your community will benefit.”

Everyone benefits

A portion of the fare for the lift goes to your school (if your school is not on d6 Connect, ask them about it so that you can also benefit from this exciting service) and it’s also a great way for the driving parents to make a bit of extra income if they so wish.  Those parents who want to earn revenue, will need to have a Professional Driving Permit (PDP) and an Operating Licence (OL) and can then benefit from a percentage of the fare.  Driving parents who choose not to do it for income and are just wanting to lend a helping hand on their route, do not need to have a PDP or OL.

The process unpacked

Offering a ride:

  • Open the d6 Connect app, go to MORE and select RIDES
  • Register as a driver and make sure you have all the necessary documents in place
  • Load your details (vehicle and available seats) that will be making the trip
  • Load the trips you are making where you can offer lifts
  • If someone books their child/children with you, accept them
  • Remember to start your trip and press the button in the app to say when you have picked up and dropped off the child/children as well as end your trip once the journey is complete 

Booking a ride:

  • Open the d6 Connect app, go to MORE and select RIDES 
  • Register and create a profile with a photo of yourself and your children (Zipalongs).
  • Load your card for payments
  • Select the trip you want to book 
  • Provide the pick-up and drop off address
  • Select which of your children needs the lift
  • Share the details of the trip with your child (optional)
  • Track your trips
  • Receive pick up and drop off notifications

Get the school year off to a smooth and smart start by joining the new community-based, parent ride-sharing service. It’s the future of school transportation.

For more information visit: www.d6.co.za/rides or email support@zipalong.co.za

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