TEL AVIV, Israel — Google began testing the waters for an Uber-like ride sharing business on Monday.
The company launched RideWith, a new app and carpooling program in Tel Aviv.
The pilot program will match people who have similar rush-hour commutes so they can share rides and split the financial burden of traveling to and from work.
Suburban commuters who need a more regular car-sharing schedule may find RideWith to be a useful alternative to the Uber and Lyft’s of the world, which cater to quick trips for city customers.
With RideWith, users can now find neighbors and coworkers who might be willing to offer a lift for longer daily distances. The app also calculates how much passengers should pay — a “pitch-in” cost based on gas and mileage and a “nominal” fee for using the app.
Drivers can accept the estimate and the ride, or decline requests altogether.
RideWith is built and operated by Waze, a company that Google bought in 2013 to help boost its Google Maps’ service. The Israeli firm is best known for its own eponymous app, which lets people contribute and receive real-time traffic information on their phones.
Waze’s pilot program differs from other car-sharing services in two ways: It’s solely designed for “standard rush hour times,” or a maximum of two trips per day. In addition, drivers aren’t paid for their service.
If the trial is successful, expect to see RideWith launch in more cities with a heavy suburban commuter population.
But the company stresses that the app is just a test at this point.
“Waze regularly experiments with new ideas,” Julie Mossler, the company’s head of global communications, said in a statement.