Waze has been one the most popular traffic navigation apps for years now. Google bought ‘em up in 2013, which is at least partially responsible for the apps success. Standing under the Google umbrella has also helped Waze get much better, more accurate, and more user-friendly in a relatively short amount of time. Now, Google is changing the way you Waze again, Carpool style!
Hitchin’ A Ride On the Cheap
The Waze Carpool app, which just recently moved out of the pilot phase into full operation, works a lot like Lyft or Uber, but is intended to make it easier to ride share to and from work. Instead of flagging down a random driver from anywhere to get to anywhere, Waze Carpool hooks users up with others who’re already going from (roughly) the same place to (roughly) the same place. You know, like how an actual carpool works. Unlike other ride-hailing apps, Waze Carpool is not meant to be a money-maker for driver. Rather, it’s meant to ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution. Riders pay only 54¢ per mile (same as the IRS reimbursement rate for business travel by car), and drivers are limited to providing two rides a day: to work, and from work, essentially. No one’s making money on this one.
“Our goal with prices is to make them as attractive as public transit, but with more door-to-door service. We are not collecting a fee, but eventually we will,” Josh Fried, Waze’s head of business development, told Forbes, showing the company’s early confidence in Carpool’s potential success.
Waze Carpool is currently only available in the U.S. in nine counties in and around San Francisco and Silicon Valley. If all goes well, Google plans to expand to other major cities. If you’re in Israel, you can use Carpool all across the country, more or less.
Get On Board
Almost any way you slice, Carpool is a good thing. Anything we can do to reduce traffic in metropolitan areas is a plus, in my book. On my average morning commute, I’d estimate that at least 90 percent of the cars on the road have only one person in them (mine included). Chances are better than good that there’re ample opportunities for carpooling there—there’s gotta be plenty of people starting from/going to approximately the same place as some of their fellow commuters.
There are arguments to be made against it, of course. “I don’t want to have to be on someone else’s schedule”; “I don’t want to ride to/from work with some rando”; “I don’t want to have to walk like three blocks from where I get dropped off”; “I’m quite flatulent in the morning”; etc. etc. etc.
Counterarguments: There are 75 million Waze users worldwide (900K in the San Fran area alone), so chances are good there’s someone on your route and schedule, or close enough so as not to matter; people are perfectly willing to ride with strangers in a Lyft, Uber, or taxi—why is this any different?; don’t be so dang lazy. Unless you’re the farty guy, none of those excuses hold water.
Plus, most people go to and from work regularly—as in, same place, same time five days a week. More than likely, users would find themselves Carpool-ing with the same person or people on the reg, which could lead to the establishment of a regular, non-app-based carpool. Not to mention some beautiful friendships!