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Shuddle aims to crowdsource the school run

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That the sharing economy has blossomed in recent years is hard to dispute, with a growing number of industries being disrupted by a sharing economy entrant into a marketplace.  The growth in the sharing economy as a whole has encouraged a number of niche players to emerge that are targeting sub-sets of markets that there more established peers have gone after.

For instance, earlier this summer I wrote about a new app that was attempting to replicate the work of ventures such as TaskRabbit, but for the more vulnerable in society.  The app, called Standwith, taps into the contacts of patients via social networks and allows friends of those in need to offer up help with regular chores, such as getting the groceries or doing the laundry.

Operating in a similar fashion is Shuddle, a new service that is modelling itself on the numerous lift sharing platforms that have grown increasingly popular this year (unless you’re a London cabbie of course!).

Just as Standwith targeted a very specific niche in the micro-task marketplace, so too have Shuddle.  They are attempting to improve the school run and ensure that children have a safe ride home from school if their parents are unavailable to do the job.

You may think that this is simply something that families would arrange with fellow parents, but Shuddle hope to extend things a bit further than that.  They’ve accumulated a community of verified drivers that have been screened as respectable adults.  They have also all got a history of working with children, as a nanny for instance.

The site is currently in a very nascent stage and is only operating in California.  They hope however that the ease of use of the system will encourage plenty of parents to sign up.  Arrangements for the pick-up can be made via the app up to a week in advance, or alternatively as late as 48 hours ahead of schedule.  When the arrangement has been confirmed, the details of the driver, including their name, photo, make of car and so on, are sent over to the parents so that the child knows exactly who is supposed to pick them up.  The ride home is then tracked via GPS so that the parents can see exactly where their child is at any time.

It’s certainly an interesting and well thought out idea.  Is there sufficient demand for such a service to make a business out of it?  I’m not so sure, but it will be one to watch with interest.

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