Riding in cars with companies
If all goes well, Bay Area residents may soon have access to yet another means of avoiding public transit. Waze, the traffic and navigation app owned by Google, is the latest company to throw its hat into the ride-hailing ring with a new carpooling service that's currently being tested in the San Francisco area. Waze Carpool follows in the footsteps of a whole slew of copycat car services, including Boston's Fasten and Via in New York and Chicago.
Waze's new venture resembles its predecessors Uber and Lyft in almost all taxi-alternative respects — with a few key differences. Users will only pay for the gas cost of their ride, meaning drivers won't turn the same profit (or, presumably, develop the same grievances) as they would at the two pioneer companies. And as its name indicates, Waze's ride-hailing service is designed specifically for carpooling and automatically groups passengers to share rides based on location.
The service is geared toward decreasing traffic in San Francisco's notoriously congested metro area — which is perhaps unsurprising, given Waze is first and foremost a maps and traffic app — so carpooling will only be offered during morning and evening rush hours. That means Waze is, at least at first, forfeiting an entire demographic of lost, drunk, 3 a.m. customers.
Waze Carpool is currently operating on an invite-only basis — so just remember, public transportation still exists.