GoKart is a transportation service for kids that operates much like Uber. Stacy Shannon is the founder and started the company in Raleigh last year and she just launched in Charlotte in June.
When I first heard about this service from a post in a mom Facebook group, I was skeptical to say the least. I immediately thought that there is no way I would allow my child to ride in a car with a complete stranger.
I was quite surprised when I started scrolling through the comments from other moms though. There were a lot more ladies supporting the service and looking forward to using it than I would’ve imagined. Yes, there were definitely some just as skeptical as me, but the reactions were pretty evenly mixed.
I had SO many questions about the service as a whole — and safety issues — so I reached out to Stacy to answer them.
Why did you start GoKart?
Stacy: “As a then-single mom, I worked as a recruiter until 5:30 p.m. most days. My son’s coach sent a new practice schedule with practices starting at 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. I panicked and could not find a good solution to get him there. Carpool wasn’t an option, I didn’t want to hire a babysitter just for a 20-minute drive and although family could help, I couldn’t ask them to drive every time. At work one day I had an ‘aha’ moment — Why can’t there be a kids’ transportation service, like if Care.com and Uber had a baby?”
How are the drivers vetted?
Stacy: “All drivers have at least five years child care experience. Most of my drivers are moms, school bus drivers and/or teachers. I conduct a seven-year federal and multi-jurisdictional background check and DMV screen. I am my own client, so I interview every single driver and ask myself if this is someone I would allow drive one of my own three children.”
How are parents assured that the proper booster or car seat is in the vehicle for the age and weight of the child? Is it installed properly?
Stacy: “GoKart transports kids from the ages of 6-17. The average age of our passengers are typically between the age of 10-16. If the child is of the age and weight needing a booster seat, we provide that and they are installed according to manufacturer recommendations.”
Who’s the guardian when getting to the destination? Is the driver physically walking the child to the soccer field for practice or just dropping him/her off in the parking lot? How does that work?
Stacy: “All of our drivers make sure to see the child walk into their home and close the door. If we are dropping off at a soccer field, dance class, swim team practice, etc., we talk to the parents and ask if it is okay if the child walks into the entrance by themselves, or would they like us to walk them in.”
Do you have to be a parent to drive?
Stacy: “No. I have a new driver in Raleigh who has worked for the state in the criminal justice field with at-risk youth for the past seven years, but is not a parent. I will say that most drivers are, though. They have kids who are old enough to take the bus to and from school, or their kids are driving themselves around and the parents are looking to make extra money in their free time.”
I also learned that all drivers are CPR certified and that it’s not limited to just women drivers. Men can drive with GoKart as well.
In case you’re interested, Stacy is still looking for more drivers here in Charlotte. She says she already has parents booking for the 2017-2018 school year.
I’m pretty sure one of the driver requirements is a high tolerance for answering the question, “Are we there yet?”
Want to use GoKart for your family?
Create an account through the Parent Portal.
This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.
Photo Credit: GoKart, LLC