Sheprd has limited availability during weekday times of 2:30PM - 4:00PM.
We will reach out immediately if we can add your child to an existing route or when we have space available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Booking a ride

When can I use Sheprd?

Sheprd vehicles operate at all times as long as you’re going to or from one of our Partner's' facilities during their operating hours.

Do I have to book in advance?

Yes, you do need to book rides at least before 11:59pm on the day before the ride. This allows us time to plan routes and allocate one of our fully vetted drivers.

How much does Sheprd cost?

Sheprd rides are currently $17 per person per ride in Newton, MA.

Can I cancel the ride?

Users can schedule, cancel, or adjust the times of their scheduled rides up until 10pm the day prior to the ride. Cancellation of an already scheduled ride prior to this time will result in a full refund of that ride.

On the day of the ride users may still cancel a ride. If a user cancels a ride at least 2 hours prior to the ride pick-up time, that user will receive a 50% refund.

If a user cancels a ride within 2 hours of pick-up (or anytime after scheduled pickup time) no refund will be issued.

Where can I go to/from?

Sheprd is currently available in Newton, MA. Either the origin or destination of a ride must be at one of our Partner activity venues. You can check out the list of Partners here.

What ages can travel?

Eligible riders are K-12 school aged students. We are not currently permitted to transport any older or younger students apart from the driver, Sheprd employees, and medically-necessary personal aides. Parents or other adults are not permitted to travel with a student in the vehicle.

Can I bring my pet in Sheprd?

Unfortunately, Sheprd cannot transport pets at this point in time.

What bags and belongings can students bring?

Students must place all their belongings on their lap or at their feet. If a large item, such as musical instruments or sports equipment, cannot be carried in the student's lap or at their feet, you will have to book a second seat for that item. Our limited trunk space is used for safety equipment.

How are drivers assigned to the ride?

To ensure that everyone’s journey is as safe, direct, and efficient as possible, we consider a number of factors when assigning drivers to a route. These factors include, but are not limited to driver availability, the number of students on a route, and optimal route planning.

Can I choose my driver?

You are not able to choose a driver. In order to ensure the safest, most direct and efficient ride, Sheprd uses an internal system to assign drivers to routes. All of the drivers maintain the highest standard of service and safety for the students.

When will I know who my driver is?

The morning of travel, Sheprd will provide information pertaining to the vehicle and the driver. All of Sheprd’s vehicles are Land Rovers equipped with a compliant Schoolbus sign, Sheprd branding, and a 7D-licensed driver.

What insurance does Sheprd and its drivers have?

For all its driving operations, Sheprd carries Pupil Insurance with a $1 Million policy limit. This is the insurance that is required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for companies engaged in the transportation of students.

Pursuant to M.G.L. C.90, Section 7(D), Sheprd has received a 7D certificate from Vehicle Safety and Compliance Services.

For more information on the risks of moving your student with a company which does not have Pupil Insurance, please click here.

What is a school pupil?

Definition of a school pupil A “school pupil” is any person enrolled in any school, kindergarten through grade twelve, or enrolled in any program for child care services, or in any program for children with special needs, or in any organized day or summer camp program or any activity supported by a school. For more information please click here.

What is a school pupil transport vehicle?

A “school pupil transport vehicle” is any vehicle which is required to comply with the special equipment and licensing requirements of M.G.L. 90, Section 7(D). These “school pupil transport vehicles” are generally vans and station wagons (though in Sheprd's case they are SUVs). The 7(D) law restricts them to carrying a maximum of eight (8) passengers only (although the vehicle may be designed to carry up to 14 passengers.) 7(D) vehicles are required to be used whenever there is “fixed route transportation” or point-to-point transportation from school or school associated programs, child care centers and/or child care providers that is provided on a regular basis for not more than eight “school pupils”. A 7(D) vehicle may never carry more than 8 passengers (9 people including the driver) regardless of the total capacity of the vehicle. Transporting more than eight (8) school pupils requires the use of a “school bus”. For more Information please click here.

What are the requirements of a 7D vehicle?

Vehicles registered as pupil transport vehicles and displaying pupil registration plates are required to have the following equipment: Current Mass state inspection certificate; Current 7(D) inspection certificate; School bus sign with “school bus” front and rear; Alternating red flashing lights; Door alarm or warning light that works with all doors; First aid kit; Fire extinguisher; Flares or reflectors (3); Chock blocks (2); Seat belts for every child; Pre-trip report.

What are the requirements of a 7D operator license?

7(D) Driver’s License Operators of 7(D) vehicles must possess and be able to present a valid 7(D) license whenever transporting children, when on the way to pick up children, or when children have just been discharged. To be eligible to obtain a 7(D) license a person must be at least 21 years old and have had a driver’s license for the three (3) consecutive years immediately prior to the license application; must be able to pass a CORI check; be of good moral character; and must pass an eye exam, a physical exam, and a written knowledge exam. When checking a license to see if an operator does have a valid 7(D), the endorsement for the 7(D) is the letter “T” for transport.

Pickup/Dropoff

Will the driver pick the student up from the door?

Much like a school bus driver, Sheprd drivers are not permitted to leave their vehicles unattended. Students should make their own way to the vehicle, accompanied by a parent or responsible adult if appropriate.

How do students find their Sheprd vehicle?

The Sheprd app will notify the parent and student when the vehicle is arriving, along with the driver’s name and a vehicle ID which is printed clearly on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Drivers will also have a list of names and photos of who they are picking up at any point in time. Each morning, Sheprd submits a roster of relevant pickups and dropoffs to each Partner facility and so that facility staff can assist in the pickup and dropoff procedures for each student.

Will I know when the student is picked up?

The app that is used to make the booking will be notified when the student is picked up, and when the student is dropped off at the arranged destination. We also provide live tracking of the student’s location during the journey via the app.

What if a student is late to pickup?

Sheprd Drivers will wait for a scheduled Passenger to board the Vehicle for up to 5 minutes from the later of the latest original pick-up time or the vehicle’s arrival. During this wait period, the Sheprd Driver will contact the Partner Facility’s emergency contact as well as the child’s emergency contact as stored in the Sheprd App. In the event that the child fails to appear during the allotted time period and the driver cannot make contact with the appropriate individuals, the driver will depart without the student.

In the event a student has missed their pick-up time but still needs transportation Sheprd offers a ‘Missed Pick-Up’ solution for an additional price of 2x the original fare, which can be organized by calling Sheprd directly at 617-999-0447. In these circumstances, we will do our best to arrive as soon as possible, but we will be often be dispatching a vehicle exclusively for this passenger, which may take extra time.

If your child’s activity or school tends to get out late, it can be helpful to set a pick-up time later then the schedule facility dismissal. If your child’s activity is of an unpredictable ending time, Sheprd is working on an “instant pick-up” service which may be a better fit than the regular scheduled transportation option currently available in the app.

Will the driver sign-in or sign-out the student at the Partner facility?

Much like a school bus driver, Sheprd drivers are not permitted to leave their vehicles unattended.

Therefore students should make their own way into, and out of the venue to the vehicle. In many cases, our Partners will have staff at the entrance to assist students entering and exiting the vehicle where relevant.

In the vehicle

Do students wear seatbelts?

Students are required to wear seatbelts at all times in Sheprd vehicles. The driver will not leave a location until all the students’ seatbelts are securely fastened - this is without exception.

What if one of the students misbehaves?

Sheprd’s rules include that all students should behave in a way that does not distract the driver or disturb other students in the vehicle.

If a student causes a disturbance, the driver will act appropriately to ensure the safety of all students. When relevant, a Sheprd team member will also contact the adult responsible for that student, and any others affected. We always want to ensure that future journeys are safe and enjoyable for everyone. Our priority is always the safety of everyone in the vehicle.

Can we leave feedback on the driver?

Sheprd driver performance is reviewed after each shift. Passengers or their families with any comments or concerns, please contact sheprd directly.

Can I tip the driver?

Tipping of Sheprd drivers is neither expected nor encouraged. For drivers that have gone above and beyond normal expectations, Sheprd would prefer that parents/passengers share that information directly with Sheprd management so that we may appropriately reward the driver. Sheprd Drivers’ base-pay is above-market among competing firms.

Download the app

To book a ride, simply download the Sheprd app on your smartphone.