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Boston Startup Company Offers Ride-Hailing App For Children

BOSTON (CBS) – Between work, school, sports, and other activities juggling schedules can be a major struggle for any busy family.

But there's now a new option for getting kids where they need to be. It's Boston-area start-up called Zemcar.

High school freshman Andrew Willwerth has been using the app for a few months now. When he can't catch the bus from Milton to Needham his mom schedules a pick-up through Zemcar.

It's like the ride-hailing service Uber but designed specifically with kids in mind.

zemcar app (WBZ-TV)

Andrew and his Zemcar driver, Ivy, aren't strangers. Andrew's mom has met her and Ivy now regularly picks up Andrew when he needs a ride.

"Zemcar is totally different," explained Betsy Willwerth, Andrew's mom. "I know the drivers. I know they've been screened. They are insured for driving kids."

That screening process includes background checks, driver history, an in-person interview, and a car inspection.

Andrew Willwerth and zemcar driver (WBZ-TV)

Ivy's phone records the whole trip so that Betsy can watch the ride as its happening.

"I don't have to worry about texting him or constantly trying to track him on find my iPhone," she said.

And parents receive text messages along the way too.

"I get notified when she actually picks up Andrew and gets in the car. I get notified again when she drops him off or she hands him off to a coach," Betsy explained.

There is no cost to sign-up and Zemcar is fully insured for kids ages 8-18. Some families wind up using the service for the grown-ups too.

Right now Zemcar is available in a handful of Boston-area communities including Jamaica Plain, Brookline, and Chestnut Hill. They are getting ready to open in Lexington, Bedford, Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge.

The service will expand even more as families and drivers sign up.

"This is what I want in ride share," Ivy James told us. "I get to know families and I know who I'm picking up, especially at night."

As a full-time nanny, Ivy said this is the perfect side gig.

"We build relationships with the kid that's sitting in the back of my car," she said.

Andrew agrees. "It's nice to have another person in my life who I trust and know."

And it's even nicer for mom to have one more way to manage a hectic schedule while she's at work.

"I know that he is safe and that he'll get where he needs to go," said Betsy. "It's a big stress reliever."

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