As parents prepare to send their children back to school, the coronavirus and climate change are still at the forefront of their minds. To address those issues and help students get to school safely, the rideshare company HopSkipDrive is looking to expand its services and invest in electric vehicles.
To fund the company’s growth and expand into 30 new markets over the next 18 months, the company raised $25 million in a Series C. The company plans to use the cash to invest in electrification initiatives. The overall goal is to help its CareDrivers affordably transition to electric vehicles. Currently, hybrid and electric cars make up 19% of the company’s drivers’ vehicles.
According to Joanna McFarland, the CEO and co-founder, “We are also continuing to invest in our route optimization software, which just helps districts get more efficient and greener. By reducing overall fleet size, we play a significant role in the overall acceleration of the electrification of the entire yellow bus network.” HopSkipDrive is currently contracted with more than 300 districts in nine states and Washington, D.C.
HopSkipDrive is just one of the emerging startups dedicated to modernizing transportation for students. The company’s drivers each have over five years of experience and are predominately women who work flexible schedules.
One of the other companies, Zūm, has a similar mission, but instead of using rideshare drivers, they are looking to take over the entire transportation system and acquire 10,000 electric buses by 2025. HopSkipDrive focuses more on meeting transportation needs that fall outside of traditional forms of school transportation.
In an interview with Tech Crunch, McFarland also said, “I think prior to COVID, we were really seen as an alternative transportation solutions for districts, so helping with individualized transport solutions for students with special needs, for students experiencing homelessness or in foster care, and that’s the core of the service we offer today. But as we’ve seen during COVID, all of these trends have only been accelerated and districts have had to deal with a lot more of that than they ever have in the past, but they’re also suffering from a severe bus driver shortage that is reaching a critical point. So anytime you have less than 12 kids on a school bus, we are a cost-effective solution, and we are also a much cleaner solution.”
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