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The OneLane App Could Spell the End of the School Run Disruption

29/06/2016 15:48 | Updated 29 June 2016

The school run covers a multitude of sins, be that gas-guzzlers in Chelsea or rusty Ford Fiestas in AnywhereUK, and this culture of built-up traffic, potential accident spots or air pollution is a blight on many lives.

Like many things in a regulated Western economy, the notion that a lot of people do the same thing at the same time, not least commuting to work, seems an anomaly in these so-called days of technological freedom. Moreover, the days when kids independently went to school on their bikes are long gone.

While there appears to be an app for everything, the school run has appeared to be an impermeable rock of UK life, something was as embedded in life as the directive to send all kids to a school every day.

However, and potentially thankfully, this is no longer the case. A new 'family ride and care service' called OneLane that is pre-booked for children means the school run could soon be sent into obsolescence.

According to OneLane, one in five cars on UK roads in the morning rush hour are on the school run. It estimates that parents spend two weeks every year driving children around to school and other activities, resulting in an annual petrol bill of £1,714.04.

The school run is essentially the first iteration of the mum/dad taxi that nowadays supports five-year-olds all the way through to university and beyond. Not only is it a burden on parents, it also weighs heavy on the roads where others are disrupted trying to get to work.

OneLane believes it can transform this culture, safely cutting back on parental responsibility as well as clearing the nation's roads twice a day. Parents in London can now book car journeys for their children with vetted childcare drivers and experts named 'Guardians'.

New to the UK, but an emerging business model in the US over the past two years, OneLane matchmakes families with the aforementioned stringently vetted Guardians to safely transport their children to and from schools when gullt-free parents may have other potential commitments.

The company was founded by CEO Camron Moradi, an experienced 'internet and automotive industry professional' who was part of the team that built Just Eat in the UK, taking the company public.

The app soft-launched in London in March this year, serving the city's travel zones 1-3. Used by a few dozen families during this beta period, high customer retention and repeat rates meant that OneLane is now planning for further expansion throughout the capital, with wraparound childcare features launching soon.

From September 2016, OneLane customers will also be able to opt to carpool with other families via the OneLane app. This reduces the cost from the current £9 flat fare for journeys under 20 mins to an average of £7 or less per journey per child.

Speaking on the company's recently launched wraparound childcare service, Jina Kwon, a London-based mother and Head of Business Development at OneLane, laid out the benefits for such an app.

"Our wraparound childcare service allows parents the flexibility to choose childcare when they need it - even if just for a short space of time. Many other childcare options in London are expensive and don't allow parents the choice of just a couple of extra hours to help with the school run or after-school activities," she said.

The idea is a smart one if trust between all parties is reinforced and maintained. It is what the privileged do with their children all the time, usually with bodyguard features, not 'wraparound' childcare services.

It will be interesting to see if it works for London. If so, further expansion to other parts of the UK appears to be inevitable. The end of the school run would be a very good thing; a very good thing indeed.

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