Merchant Innovation

Zemcar, The Kid-Friendly Uber, To Launch In Boston

When Uber first launched, it revolutionized the transportation and social habits of an entire generation. However, younger riders under the age of 18 are still prohibited from participating in the sharing economy's upward swing.

Zemcar wants to change that.

BostInno reported that Zemcar, the Cambridge-based startup that bills itself as a child-friendly Uber, is set to launch sometime in late February. Founded and led by former Verizon Wireless executive Bilal Khan, Zemcar plans to vet drivers more stringently and build in more redundant safety checks than its adult-sized counterpart.

"For the parent’s peace of mind, our philosophy is to give maximum ride control to parents," Khan told BostInno.

While Uber only performs security checks before rides ever begin, Khan explained that parents who send their children off in Zemcar rides will have the option to watch a live video stream of the interior of the vehicle. This is on top of requiring two references and in-person training for all drivers, as well as two years' experience in child care. As a final safety measure, Zemcar will employ an in-house "monitoring team" that will watch rides in real time to ensure that the car goes where it's ultimately supposed to.

However, the feature that might win the most parents over to Zemcar is the ability to choose the driver for their children. In fact, parents can select their favorite group of drivers from Zemcar's overall roster so they always know that their child is at least in the care of someone they're familiar with. Moreover, if they're sending a car to pick their child up from school, parents are prompted to record a personal video or voice message, which drivers are instructed to show to teachers or chaperones at the pickup location to verify their identity.

This extra safety does come with a cost. Khan told BostInno that the complimentary security should make Zemcar's rides about $4 more expensive than Uber trips — a small price to pay for security and convenience.

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