Westport could use a few subway lines. It might take the burden off some working parents who are otherwise unavailable to ferry their children to the profusion of after-school activities available in town. But short of hopping on the express train to soccer, baseball or ballet, Pam Wirth is a parent's best ride.
Kids On The Go is a small-town taxi service designed to shuttle children from school to their after-school activities and appointments. Pam started the Westport-based business in 1998. It was, as is the case with so many successful enterprises, born of necessity. "When our daughter Tina started kindergarten and I wanted to go back to work [as a pediatric nurse], the problem arose of getting her from school to after-care," she says. Pam, a lifelong Westport resident (and wife, mother and grandmother), was aghast at the exorbitant cost of the shuttle service, the only one available at the time to taxi children. Some years later, Pam decided it was time for KOTG to finally hit the road. "I wanted to provide an affordable transportation service for working parents," she says.
It is a cottage industry-sized venture, to be sure. "I'm the only driver of one van," she says. Which can sometimes be a little tricky albeit infrequently so. Being a one-woman band is only a problem, she says, on the rare occasion that she's under the weather. "My clients are so pleased with my service that on those days they jump in and help. I'm lucky to have such understanding and devoted people to work with."
Pam transports 20 to 30 children per school day. That is, when it doesn't snow. The winter was difficult, but she had systems in place to help keep her fleet of one moving safely and efficiently. "When the snow started to accumulate and the roads got slippery, I contacted parents about picking up children early. I didn't wait for the schools to call early dismissal," she says. But she adds, "If schools were closed, so was I."
And though the economy's twists and turns were detrimental to some businesses, Pam's service proved an essential commodity. "Formerly non-working parents have joined the workforce and that's great for me," she says.
Pam already has clients who are looking toward scheduling the next school year, which is a good thing because she enjoys what she does. "Kids are hilarious. Think about how much your own children talk when they're in the back of your car," she says with a laugh. "That doesn't change with me. They're just so comfortable with me. Sometimes I think they talk more in my van than they do with their own parents."
Westport might not have subways, but regardless, kids and their parents are lucky to be on the go with Pam Wirth.
How do you taxi around your children to after-school activities? Please let me know here.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.