Are self-driving cars to follow?
Lyft and Uber have managed to skate past a lot of regulatory and tax binds because both companies prefer to label themselves as ride share services rather than on-demand taxis.However, the last few years have taught us that both companies have effectively pushed taxis to the curb with their kindhearted ride sharing. However, that all may soon change because as the Wall Street Journal reports, Google is about to turn Waze, an effective app for dodging cops, traffic jams, and red light cameras during a commute, into a true rideshare app.
It will begin testing in San Francisco by giving drivers the opportunity to sign up (no backup check required, just maintain good reviews to keep driving) and restrict ridership to those working for a handful of companies. Each rider will also only be able to request two rides per day, the idea being that the service should be enough to go to work and back. The idea behind Waze's ride share feature will be that drivers out on their morning commutes could save money on gas by splitting the cost of the ride with another commuter in need of a ride who also happens to be on the driver's route. Fares would be very low, about 54 cents per mile, or much less than what both Uber and Lyft charge and will make it so that the service won't be an income generator.
Instead, the Waze ride share app service will simply pair two people for a mutually beneficial ride. Given the low rates, Google, the owner of the popular navigation app, doesn't expect driver income to be taxed and for now, the Internet giant won't take a cut out of a driver's pay. While it seems a good idea for now, there's no telling where how a Waze rideshare service would grow in the future, and that might be the idea. Google is looking for a way to cash in on the rideshare cash cow, and this may be a way to get its foot in the door. With promises of big money if Uber and Lyft can begin eliminating drivers and even car ownership with self-driving cars, Google needs to secure a spot on that rocket ship because it will only go up.