The group you see in the picture above aren’t some Land Rover-driving jokers pretending to be School Bus drivers – they’re the real thing.
They work for a relatively new start-up called Sheprd, which offers parents in the Boston area an alternative to driving their kids to school, or having them take the bus. For $17 a ride, parents can book one of Sheprd’s Land Rover Discovery SUVs to pick up their children and bring them to school, camps or an after-school program. The Land Rovers are designated as school buses and must undergo a daily 23-point inspection. The drivers are full-time employees who are required to undergo the same evaluations as a regular school bus driver, and must also pass a Breathalyzer before each shift.
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Sheprd has a partnership with 14 educational institutions in the Boston region to pick up and drop off kids enrolled with them, and the service is open for children in grades K through 12. Like a regular school bus, Sheprd will only drop a child off at an institution that is currently open, ensuring there is an adult there responsible for them, and drivers will also wait until they make it inside before driving away. Kids will also enjoy access to a Kindle during their ride and available booster seats.
According to Car & Driver, Sheprd has a fleet Land Rovers as it’s funded by InMotion Ventures, a subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover that invests in mobility companies and transportation sector start-ups. InMotion has injected more than $1 million into Sheprd since it first set up shop last February, and we wouldn’t be shocked to see JLR make further investments in the company to expand it outside of the Boston region.