Skoda's Parent Taxi app allows mum and dad to 'charge' kids for car journeys

Fare's fair, kids

NO MORE free fares: Skoda has launched a new app that turns mum and dad’s taxi service into a true transaction between parent and child.

The “Skoda Parent Taxi” app, available for Apple iOS and Android mobile devices, uses GPS technology to log the number of miles parents have racked up chauffeuring their offspring to and from school, friends’ houses, after-school clubs and so on.

Those miles are then converted automatically into a fare, just like in a real taxi, but rather than clocking up pounds and pence, children will be accumulating a set number of household chores per mile.

Parents can adjust the rates in the app, equating 1 chore to anywhere from one to 15 miles, and the app even has the functionality to log a “bespoke chore receipt” for every car journey taken.

The driver can share the completed journey receipt directly to the passenger’s smartphone or connected device via text or email, and the recipient must then pay it back by performing duties such as cleaning the car, feeding the family pet, tidying their bedroom or doing the washing up.

For full kiddie-shaming the app even gives parents the option to share the details on social media.

While the app is clearly meant to be lighthearted in nature, Skoda devised on the back of some serious research. The Czech car maker says a survey it conducted with British motorists revealed parents dedicate a considerable portion of their week to chaperoning their children across the country.

According to the Skoda study, drivers on average spend three hours every week in a car with their kids. Extrapolating that figure to a 52-week year, that means British parents typically spend 156 hours every year driving their children around.

With so much time spent behind the wheel every year, parents unsurprisingly rack up a considerable mileage while driving their kids about. Skoda found that, on average, mum and dad cover 31.38 miles per week while ferrying around their children, or 1,631.76 miles every calendar year — the equivalent of driving from London to Milan and back.

Skoda’s study also revealed that the distance travelled by parental taxi services is a postcode lottery. Motorists from Northern Ireland drove their children the furthest, with an average mileage of 41.19 miles per week — about the same as 66 laps of the disused, kilometre-long test track at the former DeLorean DMC-12 sports car factory in Dunmurry, near Belfast.

In contrast, parents from the West Midlands typically had the shortest kid-related commutes, racking up on average 26.92 miles per week, or roughly the distance between Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory outside Coventry and MG’s UK headquarters in Longbridge, Birmingham.

One extremely dedicated parent from Bury recorded by Skoda considerably bucked that trend, however, by committing to a 440-mile journey to Edinburgh and back so their child could take part in a bicycle race in the Scottish capital.

The car maker also cited information from The Inspired Trehouse, run by practising paediatric occupational and physical therapists, that says children of all ages benefit from performing chores. Younger children can improve their motor development by helping to tidy away their toys and games, for example.

The survey showed 89% of parents regularly ask their children to help out with chores around the home. The most popular household jobs that parents ask their kids to do are tidying their bedroom (62 per cent), doing the dishes (30 per cent), taking out the rubbish (29 per cent) and vacuuming (23 per cent).

Going the distance: how far parents drive their children

Rank Region Average miles per week Average miles per year
1 Northern Ireland 41.19 2,142
2 London 34.41 1,789
3 South West 33.84 1,760
4 Scotland 33.82 1,759
5 South East 32.26 1,677
6 East Midlands 31.80 1,654
7 Wales 31.44 1,635
8 East Anglia 29.81 1,550
9 North West 29.14 1,515
10 North East 28.49 1,481
11 Yorkshire and the Humber 27.40 1,425
12 West Midlands 26.92 1,399

The most common activities/places parents give their children aged 7 to 17 lifts to (respondents were allowed to select more than one activity):

Chores %
Dropping them off to see friends (at a friend’s house/in town) 42.02%
Friend’s birthday parties 40.05%
Sporting activities (hockey, netball, tennis, cricket, basketball, rugby, football, etc.) 35.81%
Swimming 34.07%
Shopping 33.26%
Cinema 31.51%
Sleep overs 27.16%
Trip to the park 25.19%
Play dates 24.96%
Hair cut 22.34%
Cubs/Scouts/Guides/Beavers 19.56%
Dance class 16.13%
Learning a musical instrument 11.90%
Gymnastics 11.32%
Bike ride (which you need to use the car to get to start point) 9.52%
Paid work 9.00%
Theatre class 7.95%
Nowhere in particular 6.33%
Voluntary work 5.22%