As rumored last month, Google’s Uber and Lyft competitor is now live in San Francisco (via Wall Street Journal) as a pilot program. Waze Rider is more of a carpooling service and comes with numerous restrictions for drivers. For passengers, this results in significantly cheaper costs when compared to full ride sharing services.

First available in Israel, Waze Rider can now be downloaded from the US Play Store. Passengers can request rides from the “trusted Waze community.” A WSJ reporter took a ride last night and paid much less as they are essentially only “pitching in for gas.” Additionally, there was a launch promotion:

Google paid the driver, local bar manager Mae Coates, $6.30 for the roughly 20-minute ride and charged the rider just $3, a discount as part of a promotion for the service’s launch. The same ride outside of rush hour would cost $23 to $30 on Uber or Lyft, according to the companies’ apps. A subway ride that distance costs $3.45.

Drivers are limited to two rides a day to prevent drivers from making a living on the app and thus avoiding regulatory scrutiny. A driver the WSJ spoke to said the sign up process was “hassle-free” and involved telling the app her daily schedule and home/work address. Proof of insurance, background checks, or car photos were not required.

Waze aims to pair drivers and riders going to and from work every day. The service touts “non-stop ride with a driver along your route–no detours.” In comparison, cheaper services Uber Pool and Lyft Line usually look for several people going in the same direction to get the cost down.

Waze Rider could possibly be highly competitive due to its lower cost. In fact, Uber saw it fit to kick Alphabet executive David Drummond from its board of directors over a possible conflict of interest. So far, Google has not announced expansion plans for the rest of the country, though users can register in the Waze Rider for expansion alerts.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com