Last July, Google-owned Waze began a small, private beta test of a ride-sharing service in its native Israel. Launched under the name RideWith by Wave, the service has since been renamed Waze Rider and now has a dedicated app in the Play Store.
Waze’s take is different from Uber or Lyft in that it is more of a carpool service that matches drivers going to the same destination. Those who use Waze Rider cannot become professional drivers and are not paid beyond a nominal fee from the commuter to cover gas and other costs. Possible riders first fill out information about their commute and send a request detailing where and what time they want to be picked up and their destination. The app will then suggests a fee that you should pay the driver for the trip.
In turn, drivers already in the Waze app can see nearby request and decide whether they want to pick a person up. Like Uber or Lyft, you will be able to see details about your driver and see previous ‘thanks’ given to them from past passengers. Waze is rather adamant that their service is not meant to be an Uber or Lyft competitor. During its testing period, the app limited drivers to just two trips per day.
The availability of the app in the Play Store possibly signals that a larger release is on track. Currently, the app can only be downloaded by those in Israel. Additionally, after sign-up, users are placed on a wait list until the service rolls out to their area. As a promotion, a user’s first two rides are covered by Waze.