A product that does not exist (yet) but should!

Storytime

Being raised with three siblings, it was hard for my mom to drive everyone to their schools. A school bus was not an option, and my mom didn’t feel comfortable letting us walk alone for 30 minutes to school. My mom’s daily cycle started at 5 am by preparing food for everyone and making sure that we are ready. Before going to work, she would have to drive all of us to different schools, and then pick us up on her way back home; (I know, she is a hero!). The situation became even harder when I started my soccer training, and she had to drive me at least four times a week.

According to HopSkipDrive’s survey for over 1,000 parents in the US (Mcfarland, 2020):

Driving children everyday is:

  • Time Inefficient — “51% of parents spend +5 hours a week driving their kids.”
  • Work Inefficient — “2 out of 3 working parents have regular job disruption for driving kids.”
  • Stressful for parents and unsatisfactory for kids — “24% of children miss out activities due to the lack of reliable transportation.”
Statistics are obtained from the HopSkipDrive survey, conducted through Google Surveys,
among 1,004 adults with children between the ages of 6 and 17.

For who?

Parents suffer from a lack of reliable and safe transportation for minors. There are a couple of examples that I think of here:

Parents (Customers):

  • Working parents with busy schedules
  • Single parents with multiple kids
  • Parents/guardians who can’t drive
  • Parents traveling for work/vacation

Children (Users):

  • Children above ten years old with mobile phone access
  • Children participating in regular activities/training
  • >40% of K-12 students with no access to school buses (Clark, 2019)
Uber Kids target users

Needs:

Products are built to satisfy some or most of the users’ needs. To understand and articulate stakeholders’ needs, I used the “User stories” framework with different personas:

  • As a single working parent, I want reliable transportation for my kid so that I don’t need to drive them frequently and be more productive.
  • As a protective parent, I want to know my kids’ location to ensure they are safe.
  • As a 13-year-old boy, I want available transportation all day so that I can visit my friends whenever I want. (Who doesn’t!)
  • As a driver, I want well-paid rides so that I can increase my income.

After writing various user stories, I summarized users’ needs in the following table.

Brainstorming:

After talking to parents and children, I came up with multiple physical and digital solutions. Here are my favorites:

  • A ride-hailing service to transport children from point A to B.
  • Carpool service to pair multiple parents with a designated driver to transport their children. E.g., driving kids to school or a sports club.
  • Family-to-Family ride service to pair parents up, where one parent can drive multiple kids to the same destination.

The following table illustrates the evaluation of the solutions to the customers’ needs.

From the table above, we can conclude that a customized ride-hailing service is the best solution to satisfy customers’ and businesses’ needs. It can provide safe and flexible transportation for children, not to mention generating higher revenue for the business itself.

Why Uber?

Safety and availability are essential requirements for transporting kids. In 2018, Uber controlled 70% of the market share to be the US’s biggest ride-hailing company. The RideShare Guy website estimated that there were between 1.5–2.5 million US Uber drivers in 2019. With its vast driver pool and technical abilities, Uber can branch its service to kids while guaranteeing safety, availability, and low prices.

Uber Kids is a massive opportunity for Uber to bring transportation to millions of children and enhance its brand reliability with families. The service can add a new customer segment to Uber by targeting more than 74 Million (<18) children in the US.

Let’s Talk Features:

Uber Kids is a safe and reliable service to transport kids everywhere at any time, where all drivers have passed background checks and mandatory childcare training. On a high level, I will share how I imagine the product and its functionality.

First, try accessing the product Figma Demo https://bit.ly/3hdsrGh , and let me explain some of its features:

1. Scheduling rides

Goal: Reduce time spent on managing kids transportation logistics

Parents spend much time coordinating their kids’ transportation every day. With Uber Kids, parents can book a ride on behalf of their kids by simply switching between personal accounts and their kids’ accounts. Also, they can schedule weekly rides to accommodate their kids’ school and training schedule.

2. Tracking rides

Goal: Increase safety by live monitoring the trip progress

Parents can track their kids’ location on the map and get live notifications of the trip progress. E.g., If the driver diverged from the trip path, parents will get notified so they can closely monitor the car location. Furthermore, Parents and kids will be able to free call and message each other during the trip. In the future, Uber Kids can improve its safety by installing cameras on the vehicle’s back seats allowing parents to live-stream their kids during the trip.

3. Customized child account

Goal: Keep kids safe and engaged

Kids will be required to create personal accounts and connect them to their parents’ accounts. They will be able to customize their account by changing colors and adding built-in games to their account. Most importantly, kids can seek assistance from Uber support in case of an emergency.

Success:

The success of Uber kids will depend on the user frequency of using the app. Although there are various metrics to track the app’s performance during the user journey, I will choose the “Average Number of Completed Trips per Customer” to be the north star metric. A high number of completed trips can indicate both customer adoption and business revenue growth. The metric is also sensitive to customer retention as we want to maximize the number of completed trips for each customer.

Moreover, there are a couple of counter metrics that I can use to track any wrong optimization or negative shortcuts to the north star metric:

  • Completion rate — The ratio of requested cars to the completed trips. A low completion rate can red flag issues that prevent riders or drivers from completing trips.
  • Zeros — The number of customers who open the app and see no Uber cars in the area. The high “Zeros” rate indicates low car availability.
  • Demand-to-Supply Ratio (DSR) — The ratio of active riders to Uber kids drivers. Uber is a marketplace between riders and drivers, so it’s crucial to keep a healthy DSR to reduce the waiting time for both parties.
  • Drivers rates and reviews

Risks & Mitigations:

Building a ride-hailing service for kids can involve many legal and safety challenges. For example, COPPA prevents companies from collecting data from children under 13 unless their parents permit it. In Uber Kids, children’s information will be fully monitored by parents. Children’s personal data will be stored in the parent account, saved, and secured from the public. All drivers in Uber Kids will be asked for full background checks and must take mandatory childcare training to provide excellent care and safety to children. Finally, Uber Kids will only operate in areas that it’s legal and culturally appropriate to use the service.

If Uber Kids existed when I was young, it could have eased the lives of millions including my mom’s!

References

Clarke, M. (2019, January 28). Children seek changes to school transport. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.school-news.com.au/news/children-seek-changes-to-school-transport/

Mcfarland, J. (2020, May 27). The hours for child transportation logistics amount to a part-time job. Retrieved September 7, 2020, from https://www.hopskipdrive.com/blog/back-to-school/