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Google’s rideshare app, Waze Carpool, drives into new markets

Google's Waze is rolling out new features and cities for its crowdsourced traffic app.

By Joe Clark

Google is bringing its Waze ridesharing service to additional markets.

The new ridesharing app will be coming to more US and Latin American cities after a successful trial run in Israel and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The crowdsourced navigation app works by having drivers report slow traffic areas, or police traps to inform other users. It also offers a Carpool feature which allows users to offer lifts to passengers along their commute for a small fee.

Waze

Waze chief, Noam Bardin, told The Wall Street Journal that the expansion would speed up the developing Carpool service which has so far been adopted fairly slowly in selected markets.

Waze Carpool differs from services like Uber and Lyft in that it doesn’t work like a traditional professional taxi service. The driver charges a small fee to cover the cost of petrol and maintenance and in return passengers are able to join the commute of the driver.

Currently passengers pay a much smaller fee than they would for other services, almost equivalent to that of public transport, because drivers are already making that journey on their commute.

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However because the app is merely a connection device, there is no screening process for drivers, but that means it also doesn’t take a percentage of the drivers income. The limited availability of the app also means that it may be difficult to find a ride to begin with.

Bardin said that if the service does enjoy a larger popularity then they may take a 15% charge of the fee earned.

The hope is that the new features will appeal to existing commuters and large cities will see a decrease in vehicle ownership. Professional ride-sharing services tend to increase the amount of cars on the road, at least according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Waze, formerly FreeMap Israel, was acquired by Google in 2013 for $1 billion.

 

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