School Transportation Equity for Vulnerable Student Populations through Ridehailing: An Analysis of HopSkipDrive and Other Trips to School in Los Angeles County
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/doi:10.17610/T6530N
The Every Student Succeeds Act (2015) gave foster youth additional legal protections in school, including the right to transportation and the right to remain at their school despite any moves, similar to protections already in place for students experiencing homelessness and students with disabilities. Californiaís compliance with this mandate was relatively more difficult than other statesí, as less than ten percent of students in California travel by school bus, compared with 35 percent nationally. Thus, California schools could not simply tap into their existing services to provide transportation for foster youth. Ridehailing offers a solution to this gap. HopSkipDrive, a ridehailing company designed to transport children, engages in contracts with school districts and county governments to provide school transportation for these vulnerable student populations. In 2018ñ2019, HopSkipDrive provided 32,796 trips to school in Los Angeles County, with massive time savings over the logical alterative: transit. Using Googleís Directions API, I determine that HopSkipDrive offers time savings of nearly 70 percent compared with the same trips simulated on transit. HopSkipDriveís trips average 28 minutes in duration, yet on transit only 30 percent would have taken less than 45 minutes. This is despite 90 percent of all origins and destinations being located within a half-mile of a transit stop. This service has important social equity implications beyond just time savings offered to vulnerable student populations, as HopSkipDrive contract trips tend to originate in neighborhoods with high percentages of low-income households and people of color.