Waze, the Google-owned navigation app, has started testing a new feature that steps on the toes of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft: carpooling.
For those unfamiliar with the term – the practice is not spread internationally yet – carpooling allows people to access a special lane if more than one person travels in the vehicle.
As it announced its testing phase for Waze Carpool, the company explained it was only trying to help commuters get to or from their jobs without having to call an on-demand ride, like the one offered by Uber and Lyft.
But regardless of what Waze’s intentions are, this new feature clearly serves as a viable alternative to ride-sharing services, at least in terms of daily commutes.
Currently being tested in the San Francisco Bay area, Waze Carpool “makes it easy to help a neighbor or colleague in your area,” according to the company’s website page.
Using the feature involves minimum detours – meaning that you rarely have to alter your usual drive to work – you get to ride in the carpool lane, and you can split commute costs with the extra passenger.
Employers and their workers in the Bay Area can get access to the pilot mode of Waze Carpool by invitation only. If your employer was invited to the program, you can use the carpool feature in free Waze mobile apps.
It’s really easy to use: you schedule a ride and the Waze Rider will search for the closest driver that might be driving on your route.
Drivers who use Waze Carpool have the option of accepting or declining requests from potential riders, who will help pay for fuel through transactions handled automatically in-app.
Based on the riders’ and drivers’ home and work addresses, Waze Carpool is able to connect those with nearly identical commutes. More than getting to ride in the carpool lane, drivers are motivated by the fact that the cost of gas for the trip is shared.
However, this is one of the things Waze emphasized: the carpool feature is in no way meant to be used as a way for drivers to make extra income; it’s simply meant to help people share the cost of commuting in the same direction.
Image Source: NDTV Gadgets