In an effort to enter the lucrative but fiercely competitive ride-sharing market, Google has launched a service through the Waze app. The service, called Waze Carpool, is now available throughout San Francisco. Though this puts Google in more direct competition with Uber and Lyft, Waze Carpool has a distinct business model that may give it a competitive advantage.
Instead of acting as an on-demand taxi service, Waze Carpool functions as a way to split transportation costs when commuting to work. There is a two ride per day limit and ride payments are capped at 54 cents per mile, which is the federal mileage rate. Drivers and riders simply input their home and work addresses along with their schedules, and the app connects them.
As opposed to serving as an income generator for drivers, the service aims to cover driver costs. This keeps fares low and allows the service to avoid the regulatory scrutiny to which other ride-sharing programs are subject. Drivers are not required to provide proof of insurance, pass a background check, or present photo ID, according to The Wall Street Journal. By offering an easy way for commuters to cut costs, Google could further disrupt the transportation industry.
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