Google-owned traffic and navigation app Waze piloted its new car pooling service this week in tech-forward Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA.
On Monday (May 16), the new Waze Rider app became exclusively available to 25,000 employees in the Bay Area, from businesses including UCSF, Adobe and Walmart Global eCommerce. Using the app, workers can locate, share and pay conveniently, without cash for a ride car with other commuters who travel on a similar route. Riders are charged 54 cents per mile a fee set by the US Internal Revenue Service.
San Francisco is the second area in which Waze has tested its car pooling service the first being last year in Tel Aviv, Israel, where the app was founded.
Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, already has around 50 million users who use the app to navigate better, plan their travel routes more efficiently, and send and receive traffic information and updates.
Unlike Uber’s car pooling, which also began operating in San Francisco in April this year (2016), and uses Uber drivers to collect several commuters per car, the Waze service connects individuals who already use the Waze app and wish to share car rides without the use of a driver provided by Waze.
Another similar service available (since March 2016) in the Bay Area is Lyft, which encourages ordinary car commuters to collect and drop off other commuters on similar routes. When sharing their commute, drivers can use the High Occupancy Vehicle lane on Highway 101 in California, as well as earn a US$4-US$10 fee for their efforts.
On their carpool blog, Waze said that their car pool service can provide, “an automated and sustainable transportation solution for their employees, less morning and evening congestion at corporate facilities, reduced strain on parking spots and spaces and a relaxed opportunity for co-workers to socialize and network.”
Waze also commented, “Thanks to our advanced mapping capabilities, the platform connects carpool partners from the same local community, making it easy to carpool with neighbors and colleagues you know or haven’t met yet.”