MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) – Google is reportedly set to compete with ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft by launching its own ridesharing service connecting carpoolers in the Bay Area.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the ridesharing service would be available to local users of the Waze navigation app this fall and would expand if successful. Waze, which lets users notify others of impending traffic hazards, was acquired by Google in 2013.
Currently, Google is operating a ridesharing pilot program among 25,000 Bay Area employees who work at Google and other large companies.
The Journal reported that Google’s ridesharing service is intended to connect commuters already headed in the same direction, unlike Uber and Lyft. Fares are intentionally low, currently 54 cents per mile, to discourage drivers from running a taxi business through the service.
By comparison, Uber drivers in San Francisco earned on average $23.52 an hour last year, according to internal data released by the company. Those figures do not account for maintenance and fuel costs Uber drivers incur, and Uber does not reimburse driving expenses.
In another key difference, Google is not planning to vet drivers for the service, relying on user reviews instead.
Google is also running a similar ridesharing program in Israel, where Waze was originally developed.