New ridesharing features of Waze’s Carpool are going to be coming to your city a lot sooner than you thought. The crowdsourced navigation app owned by Google piloted its carpooling features in their home country i.e. Israel. Then it came in US by launching in San Francisco and Bay Area. Now the company is thinking of expanding this feature further, including a lot of US cities and in the Latin American markets.
This was according to Noam Bardin, who is Waze’s boss, who had laid the company’s plan out in a Wall Street Journal interview that took place on Wednesday. This particular expansion would significantly increase the speed or pace of the carpool ambitions of Waze, which have progressed very slowly thus far. Waze had given careful consideration to a gradual release in very limited markets till now by slowly adding new transit and employer partners and new areas to encourage the use of their service.
The offering of Waze Carpool is very different from carpool offerings like uberPOOL as this Google-owned offering is not seeking a meaningful opportunity for revenue generating for the participating drivers. The riders will need to pay a small fee for joining the commute of the driver, but this offering is mainly designed to help drivers cover vehicle’s maintenance and split the travel cost that went in gas and scheduled stops.
The riders will be paying a lot less than normal and barely more than what they would pay in public transit. But the problem with this service is that the guarantees are few that you would even be able to find a ride, therefore you would need to book well in advance and relatively far in order to make sure you are secured.
Waze is just a connecting mechanism i.e. it doesn’t screen drivers and it also won’t take any of the income that they earned. Bardin told Wall Street Journal that in case the service catches on, they might start charging riders more (about 15% extra) and might take some a cut as well.
For one big reason, Waze’s carpool is more appealing than competing services like UberPOOL i.e. even if this service actually takes off and keeps their focus on connecting existing commuters rather than incentivizing professionals, it would reduce a whole lot of cars on the roads and parking garages in short term as well as further down the line. Other ride sharing services spike cars on the road, even if it’s just for a short term as drivers operate and secure vehicles just to work on the platform.
São Paulo could be one expansion target for Waze Carpool, according to the Bardin interview, but other markets for growth are still undisclosed.