Mobile Apps

Waze expands carpool service, gives Uber a run for the money

The mapping and navigation app launches its old-school carpool service across the entire state of California.

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Waze Carpool is coming to all of California.

Waze

Uber and Lyft may have a hold on the carpool market, but Waze is aiming to gain an edge.

The mapping and navigation app, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, said Wednesday it's expanding its carpool service throughout all of California on June 6. Before now, the service was only in the San Francisco Bay Area and Israel.

"No longer will Californians be held captive by their horrific commute," Waze wrote in a blog post. "Join us in working together to fight daily traffic, improve our commute, help protect the environment, and save a little money."

Both Uber and Lyft have carpool features in certain cities, but Waze's service is different. UberPool and LyftLine involve hired drivers who cart around more than one passenger. Waze's service uses the more traditional sense of carpooling -- it doesn't involve paying a driver, it's about sharing a ride.

The way it works is drivers heading in the same direction are invited to pick up others who need a ride. The passengers are asked to pay a suggested fee per mile to help pay for gas. Both the drivers and passengers need to have the Waze Carpool app on their phones and be signed in to use the service.

Waze launched its pilot in the Bay Area one year ago. Initially it was available to about 25,000 employees who worked near Google's offices. These employees worked at companies like Adobe, Walmart eCommerce and the University of California, San Francisco.

Waze said its pilots in the Bay Area and Israel have been "thriving" and the time is now right to expand across California.

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