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Paradise Valley brothers create carpooling app for students, athletes

Saves parents time and money


Sahil Bagai, 12, and his brother Ishan, 15, realized last August that their parents had a real problem on their hands.

With Sahil’s school in Scottsdale and Ishan’s in Phoenix — and the two’s extracurricular activities all over in the Valley — their parents were spending two to three hours every day driving them around.

“One day we saw our parents running around trying to get us to our events and picking us up and dropping us off from school,” Sahil said. “Once we got to our activities we would see all of our friends and their parents would say, ‘Oh, if we knew you guys were coming, we could have car pooled together.’ So we thought why isn’t there a solution for this?”

So they sat down and started working on an app called LetsRideKids that would allow parents to find other parents in the area who would like to car pool to school and events.

“They put routes in and once it finds similar routes in our app, it will match them together so they can carpool together,” Ishan said.

It wasn’t just as easy as brainstorming an idea though. The brothers could design the app and determine its features, but writing the actual code started getting pretty hair so they relied on some freelance developers for that end of the project.

The result was a product that launched in the middle of May.
The brothers also worked on a website, letsridekids.com, to support the app.

The app has a number of safety features built into it, including:

• Drivers license verification for all users;
• Identity verification for all users;
• Live geo-tracking during rides;
• Mobile phone verification for all users;

• Email verification for all users;
• In app chat feature;
• In app calling; and
• A rating system for drivers and riders.

The kids have fun visiting with their friends while carpooling reduces riders’ carbon footprint as well as reduce traffic at school drop off and pick up areas.

But this isn’t about just sticking your child in a car with someone you’ve never met before.

“We’re not like other ride share apps where you’re going to have a ride and that’s the only time you’ll see the driver,” Ishan said. “The families you’re going to be carpooling with are probably going to be families you’ve seen before at school or events or activities. You’re going to be carpooling with them on almost a daily basis or a weekly basis. You’ll be able to build a long-lasting relationship with them.”

That’s the big distinction between LetsRideKids and other ride sharing apps.

“This is not Uber or Lyft,” the boys’ father Dr. Rajesh Bagai said. “This is designed to bring communities together: your neighbors, your friends, the families you go to school with, families you go to tennis tournaments with, soccer tournaments, volleyball. You will likely know these people. It’s not an Uber driver coming to your front door and putting your child in there. This is going to be a friend, a trusted family that is transporting your child like they would on a play date or birthday party, something like that. You’re building a community-driven transport system of trusted drivers and we think that is a lot safer than using random ride shares that are out there.”

The app is available in the Google and Apple app stores. It’s free for now, but the boys want to add a subscription fee if it catches on.

The project has lead to Ishan and Sahil learning how to write code and has given the two a vision of what profession they would like to go into.
“We both really like tech and where that’s going as well as artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship,” Ishan said.

J. Graber can be reached at jgraber@iniusa.org. We invite our readers to submit their civil comments pro or con on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.