Bay Area ride-hailing service for kids comes to Orange County

On-demand chauffeur and child-care service Zum has its eyes set on the Southland, and the Bay Area company is making its first stop in Orange County next week.

The service, similar to Los Angeles competitor HopSkipDrive, will launch in Orange County before expanding to surrounding cities in the coming months, including Los Angeles. Parents will be able to book rides and child-care services for their kids with a few taps on the Zum app.

Zum founder Ritu Narayan, a mother of two, said the company plans to meet the needs of working parents who don’t have the time to shuttle their children to and from after-school activities, all while offering peace of mind. 

“Existing ride-sharing solutions just don’t work for parents because all of them are designed for adults,” said Narayan, referring to companies such as Uber and Lyft, which do not transport unaccompanied minors. “Even the ones designed for kids are mostly focused on getting them from point A to B, when parents actually need their kids to get from point A to B and C, and they need child care around the ride too."

In addition to booking rides, parents will be able to request that the drivers stay with their kids during an activity, or wait with them until their parents get home. 

Like HopSkipDrive, all Zum drivers must have prior childcare experience and are vetted in person. Zum also conducts fingerprinted background checks.

The company’s carpooled rides start at $8, while standalone rides start at $16. 

The company declined to reveal its growth figures but said its revenue has doubled every quarter since its Bay Area launch a year ago.

Zum’s expansion comes only months after its Bay Area rival Shuddle went out of business, citing a difficult funding environment. 

tracey.lien@latimes.com

Twitter: @traceylien

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