Back in May, Google launched a carpooling service through its Waze product but it was only available to a “select group of employers” in the Bay Area. The company told The Wall Street Journal that it’s been rolling it out to all users in San Francisco the last few weeks.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Waze said “The Waze Carpool trial has been gradually opening to new users and is currently available to commuters in the greater San Francisco Bay Area who wish to be a part of the pilot. This includes drivers who can register via the original Waze app, and riders who can request a ride via the separate Waze rider app.”
Compared to ride services like Uber and Lyft, drivers aren’t making much profit, and they are reimbursed for mileage during their carpooled rides. According to Waze.com, riders are charged 54 cents per mile.
A reporter from the Wall Street Journal took a ride Thursday night and paid less since they only “pitched in for gas.” Apparently, there was also a new promotion.
Google paid the driver, local bar manager Mae Coates, $6.30 for the roughly 20-minute ride and charged the rider just $3, a discount as part of a promotion for the service’s launch. The same ride outside of rush hour would cost $23 to $30 on Uber or Lyft, according to the companies’ apps. A subway ride that distance costs $3.45.
At this time, drivers can only do two rides a day, which prevents them from making a living off the Waze Rider app. A driver said the sign-up process was “hassle free” and that proof of insurance, background checks, or car photos were not required.
Waze Carpool connects riders and drivers based on their home and work addresses. The platform connect carpool partners from the same community, making it easy to carpool with neighbors you haven’t met.
Google does have plans to expand Waze Rider to other cities but only if it’s successful in San Francisco.