- Mapping app Waze is making a feature that encourages people to share rides available to all users around the nation this week in a bid to limit single occupancy ridership and cut down on congestion.
- Waze Carpool had been tested in several states and matches drivers with potential riders who are going in the same direction, charging riders 54 cents a mile. The app lets drivers choose riders and can filter them based on criteria like gender, a star rating or their place of employment. In the first weeks of the service, rides will be capped at $2, drivers will get incentives for recruiting riders, and companies that sign up to help employees carpool will get free rides for the rest of the month.
- The carpool service is launching at 50 Amazon warehouses, Waze CEO Noam Bardin said at a press conference, and will partner with other businesses, schools and government agencies. “One of the biggest reasons people stop working is they can't get to work,” Bardin said, according to Business Insider.
In a Medium post, Bardin said that moving to carpooling will help address "road congestion, environmental hazards and the strain on our transportation infrastructure" that comes from having too many cars on the road. "As long as we drive in Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOVs), it doesn’t matter who is driving; you, a ridesharing driver or an autonomous robot. Nothing will change," he wrote.
The move aligns Waze with ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, which have both tried to push customers out of single-rider vehicles through the cheaper shared ride options in Uber Pool and Lyft Shared (formerly Lyft Line), which similarly group riders going in the same direction. Lyft has said it wants 50% of its rides to be shared by the end of 2020, and has moved the feature to more prominence on its app to drive users to pick the option.
Recognizing the toll of single-occupancy vehicles, many cities have also tried to push commuters to share. The Washington, DC suburbs in Northern Virginia, for example, instituted congestion pricing, but give a break to vehicles with multiple passengers, and the Florida Department of Transportation has expanded dynamic tolling that gives a bigger hit to solo drivers across the state. Making the option available on smartphone apps that drivers are using every day will add another nudge.