Going my way? Waze takes its carpooling service nationwide

Although better known for finding the quickest driving routes, mobile app Waze has also been developing a carpooling service over the last couple of years.

Launched in San Francisco in 2016 before making its way to five other states, the service this week launched nationwide, offering riders and drivers the chance to save a few bucks on their commute or other journeys, while at the same time helping to ease traffic congestion by reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

Waze’s carpooling service matches drivers and riders who are heading in the same direction, and lets you choose your travel partner based on profiles, star ratings, and proximity to preferred route, and also offers filters such as same-gender and coworkers-only.

Waze carpooling rides can be scheduled up to a week in advance, and as an incentive new riders can enjoy $2 rides until the end of the month. To encourage involvement, Waze is currently offering drivers $20 cash per referral, and riders $20 credit, up to a maximum of 10 referrals.

Take note, Waze’s carpooling service is different to ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. For starters, drivers and riders can make no more than two carpooling journeys a day. There’s no real money in it for drivers, either, as they only receive 54 cents a mile, which is the current maximum IRS mileage reimbursement rate. It’s really aimed at taking cars off the road by making use of drivers that are already making a journey. But if Waze’s carpooling service takes off in a big way, its lower prices could certainly put some pressure on the ridesharing giants, which also offer carpooling options among their regular taxi-like services.

“Many people are driving alone” — Waze CEO

“The cause of our current congestion crisis is simple: too many people are driving alone, in the same direction, at the same time,” Waze CEO Noam Bardin wrote in a post announcing the nationwide rollout of its carpooling service. “We all share part of the blame for creating traffic, and therefore, we all share a responsibility to do something about it.”

“If we make a slight adjustment to our everyday behavior — like giving a ride to our neighbors in our empty car seats, instead of driving alone — we can make traffic a thing of the past for everyone.”

If you’re able to offer rides, you can make it known within the regular Waze app, while those seeking a ride will need to download Waze’s carpooling app. You can find all of the relevant links at the bottom of this page.

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