Google’s quietly launches Waze Rider carpool program in San Francisco

29 September 2016

Google has its own ride-sharing program that is now going live in San Francisco. The service is called Waze Rider and only recently opened to the public after testing in the area for several months in a private Beta. Waze Rider just has a few significant differences from other ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.

For starters, the service is not for profit. The drivers earn $0.54 per mile, and because this payment is low, it allows for the service to slip under the radar of regulations that Uber and Lyft are required to follow. Also, drivers and riders are only allowed to participate in two rides per day (as per the initial Beta test), this would equate to commuting to and from work or school.

The idea of the service is to let drivers fill the empty seats in their cars on their commutes to and from work, only to break even with driving costs. Thereby reducing the number of cars on the road. And for an area like San Francisco, wide use of this service could reduce traffic a lot.

The Journal reports that drivers only need to submit their general schedule, as well as home and work addresses. As of right now, Google doesn’t have plans for requiring drivers to provide proof of insurance, nor photos of the car. Again, Waze Riders is only meant to fill empty seats.

The Journal’s reporter took a ride from San Francisco to Oakland with the service. Initial impressions showed there were still bugs in the app itself, namely the inability to use Waze as the primary method of navigation. The trip cost the rider only $6.30 whereas a rival service would cost an estimated $23-$30 for an Uber or Lyft during Rush Hour. A great deal considering the ~11 mile ride.

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