PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Uber and Lyft have been ridesharing staples in South Florida for several years now, but a company new to the area is catering specifically to schools.
A smartphone app called Zum allows parents the opportunity to get their children a private ride.
Parents like Liz Nassar said there is one thing they look for in a rideshare company.
“Safety, that’s the No. 1 importance,” said Nassar.
Her daughter, Devin Nassar-Reis, agrees with her mother.
“I don’t blame her because you don’t know that person that’s going to be behind the wheel,” said Nassar-Reis.
According to Uber and Lyft's terms of agreement, riders under the age of 18 aren’t allowed in their vehicles.
Zum is making moves in Palm Beach County, marketing itself as the safer door-to-door rideshare alternative.
Schools Like St Andrew’s Academy in Boca Raton are taking notice and have enrolled in a year-long pilot program of the app.
"We’re the first private school in South Florida to be able to use this type of transportation service," said Carlos Barroso of St. Andrew's Academy.
Zum representatives also say their drivers undergo a strict selection process that includes Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice-level background checks and fingerprints.
Nassar-Reis, an Florida Atlantic University student on the autism spectrum and living with epilepsy, says she could make use of an expanded service like Zum, especially to help her get to extracurricular activities.
"A door-to-door service that’s personalized, that a parent can feel comfortable with, is definitely something that can accommodate a lot of families,” said Liz Nassar.
Busy parents are not the only ones cheering for this new way for kids to get around town.
“Scheduled rides have been around but scheduled reserved rides in advance for children is a niche market,” said David Lowell, a rideshare brand ambassador.
Lowell drives for both Uber and Lyft but says this new app allows guaranteed income.
Zum officials say it gives teachers and parents peace of mind that the drivers are reputable.
“They are extremely selective and very few drivers make it through the application process,” said Lowell.
Zum is currently not available to college students in our area, but they hope to expand further in St Lucie and Palm Beach counties.