Google is expanding the reach of its Waze Carpool service beyond the pilot stage. The company has confirmed that the service will become available throughout the state of California for drivers and riders starting on Tuesday, June 6. Google first launched a pilot program for Waze Carpool in the San Francisco Bay Area in May 2016.
According to Los Angeles Times, Google will not take a commission from Waze Carpool drivers in California, at least at first. Instead, riders will simply pay those drivers for the cost of their gas. In the future, a commission fee will be put in for each ride, but only after Google feels the service is up to its standards.
Because there is no commission fee for now, Waze Carpool drivers will not need to pay for commercial car insurance, nor will they need any background checks. That makes this service different than other popular ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. However, there will be a five-star rating system, along with rider and driver endorsements, and a way for both drivers and riders to upload photos of themselves to the Waze Carpool app.
Speaking of which, that’s how Google plans to make money with this service. It will be running ads inside the Waze Carpool app for both drivers and riders to check out. While riders can request a car for an immediate pick-up, Waze Carpool will also let them reserve a ride up to seven days in advance.
It certainly makes sense to expand Waze Carpool to the state of California, where long commutes on the highway are very common, and vehicles with more than two people can take advantage of the many carpool lanes, which tend to be less congested. The article states that the service will expand in the near future to Brazil. We will have to wait and see if Google’s efforts can compete with the already established Uber and Lyft businesses.