Our Kango App Ride Experience
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of experiencing the ride & child-care service Kango, compliments of the company. I learned about the service last year, when I attended a sponsored screening of the Lego Ninjago movie at iPic and attended the sponsored Chrysler Pacifica event at the L.A. Auto Show. I hadn’t used it before Friday, although there were a number of times I could have used it – such as the time my eyes were dilated after an eye appointment and couldn’t drive to pick my daughter up from school. Last Friday, I used the Kango service to take my daughter and me to two events: the Puma X Hello Kitty event, and Beat the Clock event at Fremantle in Burbank. Anyone who is used to driving in L.A. knows Friday traffic runs all day, and never dies down; also, that parking in West Hollywood can be very difficult to find. Thankfully, Kango allowed me to have more patience with my 4-year old and enjoy our time together at the events more than I would have if I had to drive.
The Kango App
I did some research before agreeing to use this service. I don’t trust just anyone behind the wheel, especially in a city that wins (again) for “World’s Worst Traffic Congestion”. Here’s some facts from Kango’s website that convinced me it was ok:
- All pre-screened Kango drivers and sitters have experience caring for kids and must pass our rigorous selection process, which includes in-person interviews, background checks, fingerprinting, and more
- All drivers and sitters can be interviewed beforehand, to make sure your family is comfortable
- Your driver or sitter can comment or message you via the app so you are always in the loop
- You can also use the app to track location in real time or call your provider if you need to talk
- Kango is licensed by the California Public Utilities Commission as an official “Transportation Network Company (TNC).” Kango is specially licensed and insured to transport children. The company holds several commercial insurance policies including auto liability insurance. These policies cover its drivers and sitters service, and meet or exceed regulatory requirements
Using the Kango App
The first thing I had to do was download the app and enter my information. You can register using your Facebook profile, or by using an e-mail address. Photos are recommended, so they know who to pick up. I didn’t do it, but you also have the option to sync Kango to your phone’s calendar. It doesn’t take much time to get set-up, but once you’re up, it’s a good idea to click through the icons to become familiar with the app. Since I knew ahead of time when I would need my rides, I booked them a few days in advance. They prefer you know ahead of time, as there is a cancellation fee for confirmed ride requests.
One thing I was confused about (but got clarified through their help resource), was if I was going to ride with my child, I have to create a child profile for myself so I can list myself as a rider. That way, they know there are enough seats available and what types of seats are needed. So when I book a ride, I choose two rider profiles, which seemed easy enough to do.
It was my first time using the app, so just like anything else, there is a learning curve. What’s great about this app is there is an e-mail address AND a phone number you can call to get help using the app. The response time was very quick, and I could track, call, or text my driver through my phone.
Our ride for the day was in a Kango-branded Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. I wanted this vehicle since I saw it at the 2016 L.A. Auto Show, so when they revealed they were partnering with Kango, I was not surprised. I checked out the newest Chrysler Pacifica at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show and it was just as comfortable as the first time. It was even cooler to ride in it!
It’s a very comfortable ride, with everything you need at your fingertips. Speaking of fingertips, my daughter’s seat pushed up close enough so she could reach the touch-screen on the pad in front of her. It was really nice that we each had our own, and it made her feel special…and let’s be honest, I felt a little special myself!
The entertainment pad has a few options – track your ride (with a cute cartoony theme), play games, watch DVD, and ports to plug in your external devices. I spent my time checking out the ride tracker, charging my phone, and talking to the driver.
Our driver was Mareine. She was very pleasant to talk to, which made our ride experience great. She is a mother herself. We shared stories about motherhood, and had quite a few laughs, making it feel like I was getting a ride from a friend (with a really wonderful car). I appreciated her cautious, yet decisive driving style because it reminded me of the way I drive.
It was good to know she was our driver for all our stops for the day. That made it easy and convenient to know who to look for. Each ride has a conversation linked to it. I didn’t realize at first, that I needed to communicate with my driver on the second request in order to talk to her. I originally was chatting with her on the first thread, but when I didn’t hear a response, I figured something was wrong. We figured it out, and Kango HQ made sure I got in touch with her for pick-up.
It was late by the time we finished the second event, and I was extremely thankful to have Kango drive us home, especially in the bulk of the evening traffic. Mareine was awesome and procured the Moana DVD for my daughter to watch for the last two legs of our trip. I am extremely thankful for that because it helped avoid a tantrum I knew my kid would have had otherwise.
Kango is an extremely helpful app, which I can imagine to be especially useful for working parents and those who have more than one kid. In addition:
- Sports practice
- Parties and events
- Places where parking is scarce or difficult
- Changes to your regular schedule
- When you have to work late
- When you are unable to drive or care for your child(ren) due to surgery or injury
- When your nanny or babysitter doesn’t drive
The driver/child-care combo service is ideal, and what’s great is you can choose to use one, the other, or both! I definitely recommend you give Kango a try. Even if you don’t think you need the service, it’s nice to know it’s there in case you do.
Kango was founded by CEO and Silicon Valley startup veteran Sara Schaer and her business partner and Kango CTO Kaliyuga Sivakumar, to meet the critical need for safe on-demand and scheduled rides and childcare services for busy families. Since launching its Rides and Care service in late 2015, Kango has provided thousands of rides for kids of all ages, parents and nannies included, across six counties in the San Francisco Bay area. Kango now also serves the Los Angeles area.
Learn more about Kango at: www.kangoapp.co
Disclaimer: We were invited to a complimentary ride from Kango in exchange for an honest review about our experience. No monetary compensation was exchanged. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.