It’s back to school for Singaporean children today, but not all of them will be taking the bus.
A new ride-sharing service, Schoolber, started operations this morning, just in time for the first day of school, and saw about 200 parents making school runs to pick up 400 other children.
Parents can sign up for the service as subscribers or drivers, and the mobile app will pair them up and allow them to negotiate on rates for sending their child to school.
Schoolber rates range between S$70 and S$150 per month, and are based on factors like distance travelled and one or two-way rides.
Parents will also receive notifications through the app when their kids have been dropped off or picked up from school, and allows parents to track their child’s whereabouts at any point of their journey.
According to parents who have signed up for Schoolber, the service helps minimize time-wasting that occurs with school buses that pick up more than 20 children each day, and is also more cost-effective as fees don’t need to be paid during semester breaks in June and December.
There are currently 800 parent-drivers registered the service, but Schoolber is looking to increase the pool to at last 2400 through partnerships with car rental companies like WhizzCar and Popular Rent-A-Car, for parent-drivers who don't own vehicles.
In November, the Singapore School Transport Association raised concerns that the app could be a “pirate” taxi service — but Schoolber maintained that it was “an IT enabler in a sharing economy.”