Google Takes on Uber With New Ride-Share Service
I use Waze on occasion to check for road problems, traffic, hazards, police, etc. But this is an entirely new way to use Waze.
"Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., began a pilot program around its California headquarters in May that enables several thousand area workers at specific firms to use the Waze app to connect with fellow commuters. It plans to open the program to all San Francisco-area Waze users this fall, the person said. Waze, which Google acquired in 2013, offers real-time driving directions based on information from other drivers.
Unlike Uber and its crosstown San Francisco rival Lyft Inc., which each largely operate as on-demand taxi businesses, Waze wants to connect riders with drivers who are already headed in the same direction. The company has said it aims to make fares low enough to discourage drivers from operating as taxi drivers. Waze’s current pilot program charges riders at most 54 cents a mile—less than most Uber and Lyft rides—and, for now, Google doesn’t take a fee."
One of the things I most often hear from young people who would like to occasionally be an Uber driver is that they really just want help paying for gas on longer trips. I hear this often from college students driving back to school. But Uber doesn't have a program like this. Now Waze does.
One of the problems with the self drive car concept is that at specific times vehicles will be traveling to a destination with few return trips. This will create the U-Haul effect where trips to a destination will cause vehicles to pool up at the destination due to the small number of return trips. To combat this the fare must be lower going in the undesirable direction, and higher going in the desirable direction.
While the Waze program will not cure this problem forever, it will provide an immediate mechanism for people to circumvent the problem to some extent, with the drivers getting gas, and expenses paid, and riders getting an amazingly cheap ride. This looks to be a win-win arrangement.
I expect this market to continually shift in ways we cannot fully understand until it becomes mature, and the variety of needs, and services understood. This will be interesting to watch.