Business & Merchant
- Last Updated on Thursday, 28 September 2017 18:49
By Beth Stroud
When two South Hills moms realized that cloning themselves was about the only way they’d be able to get their children to all of their activities while also performing their job requirements and household responsibilities, they began supporting one another with carpooling. It’s been a common practice for years – but not everyone always has that “go to” person when support is needed.
|KidLift founders Lori Pollock and Ali Lucas|
So the former neighbors brainstormed a way to help parents who needed transportation for their children to various activities. Meeting parents’ needs for their children’s transportation was the inspiration to incorporate KidLift. Unlike Ubler or Lyft which are geared toward adults, KidLift is a transportation service for children ages 4 through 17.
“You know the struggle,” exclaimed Lori Pollock, who owns KidLift along with fellow Peters Township resident, Alexandra “Ali” Lucas. “Practice starts at 5 p.m. but you’re on the clock until then. Or you have kids who need to be in two different places at the same time.” Pollock and Lucas knew that moms and dads faced this same dilemma on a regular basis.
Since September 2016, KidLift has been providing transportation services to children throughout the South Hills when their parents simply can’t. Most of their current routes run anywhere from Washington, PA up to Robinson Township or into the city. “We started out slow but have grown busier this year,” shared Pollock. Some of their requests include daily transportation to private schools, preschool pick-ups and getting an entire group of siblings to their after school activities into downtown Pittsburgh.
For many parents, safety when allowing others to transport their children is a huge concern. “Safety is our number one priority,” stated Pollock. With the goal of keeping everyone safe there are guidelines which must be followed by all parties – parents, passengers and employees.
|KidLift drivers display the KidLift magnet on the sides of their vehicles|
Parents who wish to utilize the service for their children must first complete required forms including demographics and health insurance information. In addition there is a “safe word” form that must be completed. The safe word is a word or phrase chosen by the parent and shared with their child and the assigned driver. KidLift drivers wear the signature yellow t-shirt with the KidLift logo and displays the KidLift magnet on the side of their vehicle. Prior to a child entering their vehicle, they exchange the safe word/phrase as part of their safety procedure.
Passengers are expected to behave appropriately and respectfully while being transported. Parents receive a picture of their child’s driver via text prior to the scheduled trip. They also receive notifications via text/phone upon pick-up and drop-off of their child.
Drivers for KidLift must be 25 years of age of older with a valid driver’s license, maintain a vehicle that is less than 10 years old with 4-7 seating capacity, have a clean driver’s record, and are subject to FBI fingerprinting, criminal background, sex offender record and child abuse checks. Both professional and personal references are also verified. Strict rules prohibit use of cell phones while driving – other than for navigation purposes which must be set prior to departure. There is also a zero tolerance policy for smoking, drug and alcohol use while driving.
Trips can be scheduled by calling 1-877-867-6665. Twenty-four notice is requested but last-minute trips will be honored for an additional fee. Payments are made online prior to the trip. Pricing is $12 for 0-5 miles, $17 for 6-10 miles. Trips beyond 10 miles are charged an additional $1.50 per mile. Twelve hours’ notice is requested for cancellations. Cancellations without the requested notice will be charged regular trip fees. Rides cancelled due to extreme circumstances, such as weather, may be done without any charge within three hours of the scheduled departure time. There is also group pricing available as well as discounts for routine trips. Additional charges may be incurred if it is requested that the KidLift driver has to wait for a child at their activity or if the drop off and pick up times are within an hour on one another. Wait fees are $20/hour and charged in 15 minute increments.
Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. until midnight, and Saturday from 8 a.m. until midnight. Services are not available on Sunday.
More information on KidLift services and pricing, as well as the answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on their website at www.kidliftpa.com.