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BOTTOM LINE : Driving Miss Baby

October 30, 1994|Sharon Tetrault

It's 11:15 a.m. and we're parked curbside at an elementary school in San Juan Capistrano. From among the throngs of children, a perky 5-year-old pops out and runs toward our van.

"Hi, Madison, how was school?" asks the driver, Victoria Digby, as she helps the little girl into the front seat. Once Madison is buckled up and her favorite cassette, "The Lion King," is turned on, the van heads out.

Neither nanny nor babysitter, Digby is perhaps best described as chauffeur to the children. Her company, Kiddy Kab, shuttles kids around South Orange County in an minivan. Whether it's kindergarten, day care, gymnastic classes or soccer practice, the company promises to get your munchkin there on time.

"Because of all the working baby boomers and divorces these days, kids are suffering from a lack of transportation," explains Digby, who co-founded the company with her sister-in-law, Patricia Djokovich, last March after reading about a similar service back East. With start-up capital of $10,000, they made down payments on two vans, got a state transportation license and hit the road. (Another kid shuttle service, Wee Wheels, operates in Westminster and Huntington Beach.)

Having your kid tooled around town doesn't come cheaply: It costs $1.80 a mile with a three-mile minimum and $35 to enroll. After the first five miles, the rate drops to .90 cents a mile.

But for those whose nanny doesn't drive or who just can't bear to see their ex, Kiddy Kab seems like a bargain.

Madison likes it: "It's fun," she says, "because I don't need my daddy." But older kids are another story: One insists on being dropped off around the corner from his school so his friends won't see his uncool transport. Just like when mom drives.

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