Imagine yourself rushing home after a busy workday, hoping you do not hit traffic, so you can pick up your kids from school just in time to shuttle them back and forth to sports, friends or other activities, and finally drop them off at home. For parents it often feels like a full-time job besides there existing job. Although, our transportation industry has changed substantially in the past few years with the emergence of major peer-to-peer car services such as Uber or Lyft, there is still no easy way to organize kid’s carpools today.
Ridesharing with GoKid
The perfect solution: GoKid. This New York based start-up founded in 2010, meets this growing need for better children’s transportation through building a mobile application that enables parents to share carpooling responsibilities with a network of friends, families and neighbours they know and trust. An app that not only saves time and money for parents, but also reduces traffic congestion. GoKid is known for its free ride set-up whereas other ridesharing services for kids, like Zum or HopSkipDrive, charges per ride and use paid drivers. More importantly, however, the most fascinating thing about GoKid is the way they actively involve parents and caregivers to build a carpool community based on trust (GoKid, 2018).
How does it work for parents and schools?
GoKid is a mobile application and software as a service (SaaS) solution that serves both parents and schools. Differently from ridesharing services, like HopSkipDrive, GoKid works with an invitation-based voluntary system in which parents or caregivers are the drivers instead of paid drivers. Families can sign-up for GoKid within four basic steps: setting up a family account including parents, children and residential details; crating a carpool with location and time specifications; inviting other families or caregivers to join the carpool and lastly, sign up to drive carpools that suit your schedule best (Waite, 2018). In this way, families do not only save time, but they also save a minimum of 60% in transportation costs (Clark, 2018). However, a big barrier for parents to set up school carpools is that they often do not know who in their child’s class lives nearby or has the same agenda (GoKid, 2018). GoKid overcomes this barrier by providing a secure portal ‘GoKid Connect’, in which data is shared by schools or (sport) teams, to enable parents to reach out to other families who live in the neighbourhood and have kids in the same class (Dhakappa, 2018). Hence, GoKid offers a business-to-business solution that solves the biggest issue with school transportation (GoKid, 2018).
GoKid uses a multi-sided market model. On the direct to customer side, there is a freemium model which gives parents free access to features such as, setting up carpools and have an optimized route for carpooling which avoids traffic. The premium version, GoKid Pro, includes additional features such as the ability to sync the carpools with the parents’ calendars and in-app messaging with other families in the carpool group for a monthly or annual subscription. On the business to business side, schools and organizations use the GoKid Connect for an annual subscription fee.
GoKid employs a consumer co-production network, as it shifts the power of value creation to stakeholders in two different ways, so that consumers and schools or teams create most of the value. On one side, parents of caregivers directly produce value for other families by initiating to share rides with families of whom the kids need to go to the same destination (Dellaert, 2018), by acting as service providers. However, families that consume the carpool service by letting other parents or caregivers drive their kids, need to act like service providers as well when it is their turn to ride. In this way, the platform enables parents to reclaim valuable time and save transportation costs. On the other side, schools or teams provide value to consumers (i.e. families) and themselves by sharing their databases with GoKid which helps families to connect with each other and set up carpool groups. Also, they create value for themselves as the shared-ride solution helps them to retain families that otherwise might have chosen to enrol in another school and it reduces the number of absent children (GoKid, 2018).
Moreover, GoKid’s value creation goes even further through building communities as the business model highly depends on trust. First, Gokid tries to create member attachment by featuring in-app messaging which allows parents to easily contact each other and establish trusted relationships. Interpersonal communication stimulates bond-based attachment and eventually attachment to GoKid’s online community (Ren et al., 2012). Furthermore, bond-based attachment is stimulated as carpooling allows parents and children to have one-on-one interactions with each other resulting in a valuable opportunity for socialization and development of friendships (GoKid, 2018). Member attachment is very important for GoKid’s online community, as the platform strongly depends on network affects. Hence, carpool creators (e.g. parents or caregivers) need to be highly active participants in the carpool themselves to produce value and receive value in return, as GoKid’s premise is inherently viral. The more families participate within a carpool group and initiate to drive their kids and other’s kids to a certain destination (i.e. producers), the more valuable the network is for other families to join the platform, because more rides can be shared reducing the total number of rides each family have to make for their kids (i.e. consumers).
Efficiency of the model
There is growing demand from working parent for safe and efficient shared model child transportation, with little time for complex ride schedules. GoKid’s current system is not only beneficial for parents or caregivers and school in multiple way, but for the whole society as well. On the one hand, families benefit as they save time, due using GoKid for the coordination of carpooling schedules and carpooling, and money due reduced transportation costs. Moreover, the app solves an information gap for families by sharing data collected from schools and teams. On the other hand, schools benefit as GoKid reduces the number of absent children with 30% and makes it harder for parents to switch their children to another school due to the community they have built. The society benefits because there are less vehicles on the road decreasing traffic congestion, and consequently gas pollution which positively effects air- and water quality (Clark, 2016). Finally, GoKid itself benefits from their premium subscriptions, the collection of data (e.g. driver routes, traffic congestion) and their positive contribution to the environment which strengths their image (Waite, 2018).
GoKid has clear internal rules and regulations to ensure the safety of kids, such as behavioural guidelines and rules regarding licenses and car seats (GoKid Terms, 2018). Unlike HopSkipDrive, users of the service are fully responsible for all liabilities relating thereto. Because carpool groups consist of multiple families that know and trust each other, there are no legal measures that drivers most go through assuming that everyone wants their kids to be safe. However, to guarantee this safety for the children, GoKid requires that the parent driving each carpool also has their own kids in the car. Besides that, drivers must abide the traffic laws that apply the country in which they drive (Lemcke, 2016).
What brings the future?
GoKid is planning to expand its product offerings by integrating their technology into vehicles through partnerships with Bosch and InMotion (Dhakappa, 2018). In addition, the company aims to work with more partners to allow users to sync their schedules from other apps in order to create a seamless carpool set up from existing events or corporates. Koslowski, vice president of the research firm Gartner, Inc., believes that approximately 20% of the vehicles in urban areas will be shared-use vehicles by 2025 (GoKid Team, 2018). This leaves high potential for GoKid to grow their user base and revenue streams in other countries, as GoKid is thinking big and thinking global (GoKid, 2018).
Clark, A. 2018. Efficient school transportation with GoKid to manage traffic congestion. [Online] Available at: https://www.gokid.mobi/efficient-school-transportation-with-gokid-to-manage-traffic-congestion/
Dellaert, B.G.C. 2018. The consumer production journey: marketing to consumers as co-producers in the sharing economy. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, forthcoming, 1-17.
Dickey, M. R., 2019. Zūm, a ridesharing service f[or kids, raises $40 million. [Online] Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/28/zum-a-ridesharing-service-for-kids-raises-40-million/
Dhakappa, B. 2018. GoKid – Making Kids Carpooling Easier. [Online] Avaiable at: https://techweek.com/gokid-newyork-kid-carpool/
GoKid Team., 2018. Is Car sharing the future? [Online] Available at: https://www.gokid.mobi/is-car-sharing-the-future/
GoKid Team., 2018. How GoKid compares to child driving services. [Online] Available at: https://www.gokid.mobi/how-gokid-compares-to-child-driving-services/
GoKid Team., 2018. Best child transportation tips for busy parents in Chicago. [Online] Available at: https://www.gokid.mobi/best-child-transportation-tips-for-busy-parents-in-chicago/
GoKid., 2018. GoKid Carpool Safety. [Online] Available at: https://www.gokid.mobi/gokid-carpool-safety/
Lemcke, S., 2016. GoKid Carpooling101 – Carpoolingetiquette. [Online] Available at: https://www.gokid.mobi/gokid-carpooling101-carpooletiquette/
Ren, Y., Harper, F.M., Drenner, S., Terveen, L., Kiesler, S., Riedl, J. and Kraut, R.E., 2012. Building member attachment in online communities: Applying theories of group identity and interpersonal bonds. MIS Quarterly, pp.841-864.
Waite, M. 2018. How this app is providing community mobility solutions and personal parenting options. [Online] Available at: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/how-app-providing-community-mobility-solutions-and-personal-parenting-options