Alphabet’s Waze Carpool app will expand its service throughout California next week, the company announced today. From Tuesday 6th June, drivers across California will be able to offer rides to people travelling on a similar route to them. The app has previously only been available in the San Francisco Bay Area.
What is Waze?
Waze is an active community of online map editors who ensure that the road data in their areas is as accurate as possible. Users drive with the app open on their smartphones to contribute traffic and other road data. They can also take a more active role by submitting traffic or accident reports and reporting any other hazards they come across.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, bought Waze in 2013, integrating Google's mapping and geolocation services into the app.
How can I use Waze Carpool?
Passengers who wish to carpool with a driver can download a separate app called Waze Carpool and request a ride. Schedule a ride in advance and Waze Carpool will look for the closest Wazer already planning a drive on your route. The app always gives you the choice to accept or decline a request.
Riders who accompany drivers on their routes share the cost of gas for the trip. Payment is set in advance, with no price no greater than the federal mileage rate of $.54 per mile.
"Carpool for us is a really big bet," said Josh Fried, head of Waze Carpool. "It embodies what we think makes the best of Waze: our innovative technology, our expertise in complex routing and our friendly community that's in it to help each other out. For years, folks on the Waze platform have helped each other out by contributing to data. Now they are able to really take a sizable step in reducing connection by taking cars off the road."
"Google has always been known for taking multiple bets in the same category — like messaging," Fried said. "The key is, we are all focused on our individual users and what they need. Google Maps does an amazing job at mapping the whole world. Waze is all about drivers — there are no sidewalks on our maps."
Waze currently takes no cut of the transaction between rider and driver, but Fried said the company plans to eventually take a commission. The company is entering a highly competitive industry, with Uber and Lyft dominating market share. A new market research report from Markets and Markets says the “growing need for personal mobility in the wake of rising urbanization and a fall in car ownership” will fuel demand for services like ride sharing/hailing.
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