Having seemingly completed pilot experiments in San Francisco and Israel, Google Waze’s carpooling app appears to be set to launch in other places soon. It will be fascinating to see if Waze is the one that will finally bring carpooling back into the mainstream, after being marginalized for the past 30-plus years. Only about 11 percent of U.S. commuters carpool to work.
Now Waze looks ready to expand to other cities in the US and Latin America, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The difference with Waze’s ride sharing is that it’s a form of carpooling, while Uber and Lyft involve hiring drivers for the ride-share. This could mean Waze carpooling is a lot more affordable, but a different concept: drivers already heading to a certain area would be invited to pick up others who need rides.
“Can we get the average person on his way to work to pick someone up and drop them off once in a while? That’s the biggest challenge,” Waze CEO Noah Bardim said in an interview with the Journal.
It does seem like a pretty large challenge. According to the Journal story, carpoolers currently pay drivers 54 cents a mile as reimbursement. Waze could start charging riders 15 percent more on top of that in the future, according to Bardin, making Waze ride sharing more of a for-profit enterprise.