Google Launches Waze Carpool to Compete with Uber and Lyft
Rideshare services, most notably Uber and Lyft, have taken the world by storm in the last few years by offering customers a great variety of options for getting around. Often cheaper than taxis, rideshare services are also a great way to earn points to redeem for travel, since you can always pay with a card (and without an additional fee). Despite a recent decision to halt operations in the city of Austin, the momentum of rideshare services seems to be unstoppable. (If you don’t yet have an Uber account, you can sign up now to receive a free ride [up to $20] from TPG.)
Now, Google, the owner of popular community-sourced mapping service Waze, wants in on the action. This week, Google launched a new service called Waze Carpool. Unlike Uber and Lyft, Carpool users are only expected to pay to cover their portion of the fuel required to make a trip, but that could always change in the future. The service is currently operating in an invite-only pilot mode, available to select employers and their employees in the Bay Area, but if the trial's a success we're likely to see Carpool expand quickly. Since companies have to apply to be part of the pilot program, Waze is betting that the sizable tech community in the area will provide reliable customers for the service who will help work out any potential issues with the app itself before it becomes available to the general public.
While Uber is undeniably convenient for its riders, drivers have not always been happy. We've heard countless accounts of driver frustration due to dropping fares, poor communication and a general lack of driver support. Assuming the service begins charging fares for rides (beyond an estimate for fuel), Waze Carpool could be very attractive to displeased Uber drivers, as Google's corporate reputation is far better than Uber's.
What do you think of Waze Carpool?