Ridgefield resident Jeff Sansone got an idea several years ago, when his children were 10 and 12 years old, and he frequently found himself serving as their taxi service.
“I was a divorced, single dad with a full-time job and constantly driving them around to sports practices and other various activities,” said Sansone, who works as a risk manager with a financial firm in Greenwich. “I thought that it would be really nice to have some help. Instead of calling and texting people individually, I thought it would be great if I could reach everyone at once.”
Sansone’s brainstorming yielded a tangible result: KYDRides (KYD stands for Know Your Driver), a web-based application designed for busy suburban parents who often struggle with the logistics of transporting their younger children from event to event.
“It’s meant to be a safe way for people in a community to help each other,” said Sansone. “Parents are able to choose who they want to drive their children. They are not relying on a third party to do the vetting.”
Sansone worked with a company in California to create the KYDRides application, which debuted last year and is available as a free download via the App Store. The program allows users to set up Trusted Circles comprised of other family members, friends, neighbors — anyone parents would trust to drive their children to sports practices, after-school events, birthday parties, etc.
“It’s geared toward towns like Ridgefield where both parents may work and the kids are involved in a lot of activities,” said Sansone. “It’s meant for those types of suburbs, which don’t have public transportation and are spatially spread out.”
Here’s how it works: Parents use KYDRides’ messenger system to request a ride for their child and then select one or more Trusted Circles to broadcast that ride request, which includes the time and place. Anyone in the Trusted Circle can reply to the parent and offer to provide the ride needed. Once a driver accepts the request, the ride details are set.
“It’s a market-driven system,” said Sansone. “The more robust your network, the easier it is to get rides.”
Although KYDRides is designed as a volunteer service, an in-app payment option does allow users to reimburse drivers for their time and fuel expenses. “College kids who are home for the summer can make some extra money by offering to drive for families they know,” said Sansone.
“It’s not meant to be a replacement for Uber or Lyft,” added Sansone, referencing the two most well-known ride-sharing companies. “Riders have to be 18 (years old) to use those services; they are not intended to be a way for parents to find drivers for their children.
“KYDRides is peer-to-peer and community-based,” Sansone said. “These aren’t strangers who are driving your kids … that’s the entire point. These are people you know and trust. People that you choose.”
For more information visit kydrides.com.