Pogo at its heart is about bringing more transportation options to families from resources that are all around us within our own communities – trusted groups like our neighborhoods and the schools, sports teams, and camps our kids attend. The new way they we’re hoping to expand the supply of drivers is through something we call Community Rides, which provides a way for people to make a little bit of money to reimburse them for their gas and expenses by driving kids along the routes they’re already driving…back-and-forth to school, to the soccer field, to dance class, etc.
It’s already happening
The truth is this is already going on today, just not in a way that’s very easy to discover. Speaking from personal experience, my 19-year-old daughter who is back from her freshman year in college this summer has made some extra money driving neighborhood kids. And her younger sister has been a frequent rider during her 7th, 8th, and just-completed 9th grade years being driven back-and-forth to school with a great kid from our neighborhood on the outskirts of Seattle named Andre who will be a senior in high school this fall. He’s made a thriving business driving kids to and from school, to sports practices, and even driving some families to and from the airport.
Teenage drivers? Are you crazy?!?
Many of you are probably asking yourself…would I really let my 8-year-old or 10-year-old or 12-year-old in the car with a teenager whose only had their driver’s license for 18 months? As a parent you’d be crazy not to ask this question. I like to think about it like Congress; as the saying goes…”I hate Congress, but I love my Congressman.” It’s because I know who my congressman is and I know that he or she is not like all the other political hacks in Washington. It’s the same thought process with teenage drivers: frightening as a group but probably just fine when you know one personally. I know my college age daughter is a good driver because I taught her to drive and have ridden with her many times before, and I know Andre is a really good kid and a great driver because I’ve known him for 10 years.
One alternative to a ride with a teenager in your community is an Uber ride for your child – something that we know many parents are starting to do. But which is really the safer alternative? With Uber you have no idea who is picking up your child, and it’s a virtual certainty that a different driver will pick them up every time they need a ride. With Community Rides, you get to choose a driver from within your local community – one who often attends the same school as your child or plays in the same soccer club – based on a thorough review of his or her driving history in Pogo, connections to people you both know, and a myriad of other trust-building features.
So a key question is how can Pogo help transmit the kind of knowledge that a parent or a close family friend has about a teenage or young college age driver so other Pogo users can have the same level of confidence? We do that in a couple of ways: (1) by requiring background and DMV checks for these young drivers; (2) by requiring them to be connected to at least three other users in Pogo; (3) showing feedback from other Pogo users whose kids they have driven; and (4) by publishing statistics on the number of rides that they’ve done.
It’s not just teenage drivers
Our initial focus with Community Rides is bringing these young drivers into the mix, but there’s no reason it has to be limited in that way. It’s really about “I’m going that way, I’d be happy to take other kids, and I wouldn’t mind making a little money.” So that could be an active grandparent or even other parents within a school or sports team.
Just the beginning
So Community Rides is something we’ve only partially implemented so far. We’re working on building up the trust content as described above. We don’t yet have a payment method in Pogo, but we do have the ability to keep track of the rides that any given driver has given and the rides that a family has taken. Payment can be easily handled via a service like Venmo.Learn more at https://www.pogorides.com/communityrides/.
Pogo Co-Founder and CMO
Pogo Co-Founder and CMO