Last July Google owned Waze rolled out a ride sharing service in Israel. Now Waze is expanding the service to San Francisco. The choice of location is not random, Bay Area is where Uber and Lyft began.
The concept of carpooling by Waze is however much different. The drivers are not earning any salaries, they are just paid a small fee to cover their gas expenses. Ride payments are transferred from riders to drivers automatically through the app. Waze is not taking a cut of that transaction (right now as it takes 15% cut in Israel).
As of today the company is piloting the service with around 25,000 employees of select companies in San Francisco. After downloading a new dedicated app called Waze Rider, the employees can hitch a ride with drivers using Waze and pay drivers via the app.
It seems that Google is quite honest about the purpose of the project – to reduce the rush hour traffic as the service will only be available during morning and evening commute hours.
According to eMarketer, carpooling services will double the number of users within the next 4 years and Google is quite clear about taking its cut out of it. Is this a way to achieve that? We’ll learn soon.