It's nice to occasionally see some developments in the obscenely well-funded rideshare industry that do not involve dude-bro executive malfeasance, regulatory shenanigans, or sexual harassment. So SFist is pleased to report that the Google-owned Waze, the real-time traffic, accident, and cop-spotting app that helps drivers strategize their ride, has expanded the Waze Carpool app to cover the entire state of California according to Reuters. The paid Waze Carpool service arrived in Mountain View as a tiny pilot program in 2016, expanded to nine Bay Area counties in February of this year, and now lets commuters pick up or hitch carpool commute rides across the Golden State.
To be clear, this is not the Waze app it's a separate app called Waze Carpool that allows citizen drivers to pick up extra riders who are headed the same direction. And driving does not have the potential as a revenue-generating side gig, as the Bay Area News Group notes that “Waze Carpool rides need to be reserved hours in advance and only can be used up to two times per day.”
But In terms of real-life experience and tangible societal value, Waze Carpool does have the potential to reduce traffic in highly congested urban areas (even if the original Waze might be doing the opposite), and it is a ridiculously affordable commute option.
Waze Carpool riders are charged at a maximum rate of only 54 cents per mile, and Waze does not currently take a cut of that amount. "We have no intention of going above the 54-cent IRS cap as that brings us into a whole other type of service and we're very committed to keeping this as a not-for-profit, share-the-expense type of carpool, for regular people going to and from work,” Waze head of business development Josh Fried told Forbes earlier this year. "There's no way to become a professional Carpool driver it's about a ride to work and a ride home."
Of course, Waze Carpool requires a Facebook or LinkedIn login, so there is surely some really evil surveillance or third-party tracking activity that is creating a revenue stream for Alphabet/Google. And according to Recode, location-based advertising will be added in the near future.
Related: James Corden Does Carpool Karaoke With Steph Curry