Have you ever been stuck in traffic wishing you had a passenger that could get you in the carpool lane speeding by all the traffic? Well, Google’s parent Alphabet is launching a ride-sharing business that specifically coordinates carpools. The service is being incorporated into the Waze app, which is owned by Google. The focus is to offer shared carpool rides, rather than an on-demand taxi-like service such as Uber and Lyft.
Waze gives directions and also incorporates real-time, community-sourced traffic information. The app is driven by the information it collects from other drivers, such as traffic jams, car accidents and the police. The app boasts 65 million active users and allows those users to interact with each other through the app.
The program will be available this fall in the San Francisco Bay Area only. It will begin with 25,000 employees of local tech companies. There are currently over 700,000 Waze users in the Bay Area and unlike Uber and Lyft, Waze wants to connect drivers and riders who are already headed in the same direction. The charge will be minimal, less than 54 cents a mile and Google won’t take a cut. Riders are limited to two rides a day - it’s intended to transport people to and from work.
Any Waze user that lives in the Bay Area can sign up as a driver, but the ridership is limited to roughly 25,000 San Francisco-area employees of several large firms, including Google, Wal-Mart and Adobe. Google doesn’t believe Waze drivers’ income to be taxable, because the payments are considered money for gas.
The option could be a great one for commuters to save time and money and help cut emissions.