Waze Tests Home-Work Carpooling in Israel

A new monetization opportunity for Waze?

Waze Tests Home-Work Carpooling in Israel
Google’s subsidiary Waze has launched a new mobile application called RideWith, a short distance, home to work, carpooling service that is in trial in the Gush Dan region of Israel, i.e. the pulsing hub of the country around Tel Aviv with 1.6 million inhabitants.

The service pairs commuters looking for a ride from home to work or vice versa with drivers using Waze going in the same direction. The service is limited to two trips per day. It is currently available for Android and will be later available on the iPhone.

What is the business model?
This is clearly a carpooling service and not a e-hailing service like Uber.

“Riders pitch-in on the cost of gas and wear and tear on a vehicle by reimbursing the driver via the app when the ride is complete. RideWith will calculate the cost of gas and depreciation based on route mileage* and suggest an amount. The driver can then accept or decline the ride and rate,“ the company explained.

Per its term of service Google is taking a commission fee in the middle, but the exact percentage is not known at this stage.

At this stage this is a trial in a region where Waze - which started in Israel - probably has the biggest concentration of “drivers“. It is also clearly positioned as a home-work carpooling service.

If the trial is successful Waze could easily launch it in other countries/cities where it has a strong concentration of drivers: United States, Italy, France, etc... This could provide Waze with another channel of monetization, possibly more significant than advertising.

This pilot again clearly demonstrates the interest of Google for urban mobility services.

If you link this initiative with their small fleet of self-driving cars now touring around Mountain View, you have a clearer picture of what might be their ambition in this area.

Wednesday, July 8th 2015

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