Wonolo, an app that helps companies find temporary workers and contractors, today announced that it is partnering with Waze Carpool. The idea is to make it easier for workers to find rides with others heading to nearby jobs. The partnership will first roll out in the Bay Area and Chicago, where about 50,000 workers are using Wonolo.
Wonolo counts companies like Papa John’s, Uniqlo, and Coca-Cola among its customers, and most of the work available on Wonolo is for temporary jobs in fields like fulfillment and distribution, which companies tend to need more workers for around the holidays.
AJ Brustein, Wonolo’s COO and cofounder, said a survey among Wonolo users earlier this year found that after pay, location was the number one factor in determining whether they would take a job. And while some workers were able to use their own car to get to a job, many others rely on public transportation.
“The location piece is really about ‘Can I get to this place?'” Brustein told VentureBeat. “If I don’t have a car, does the public transportation run during the times that I need to get there and then leave?’ ‘And then if there’s public transportation, how difficult is it — do I have to change buses three times or something?'”
Until the end of January, Wonolo users in the Bay Area and Chicago will get free rides through Waze Carpool. Waze Carpool normally charges riders a maximum of 54 cents per mile. That’s because the IRS has a maximum limit of 54 cents per mile on driving expenses, so drivers can count it as reimbursement on their taxes, rather than as income. In an interview with VentureBeat last month, Brustein said Wonolo has also been encouraging companies to advertise on job listings if they’re close to public transportation, as that makes workers more likely to accept a job.
The partnership is indicative of two trends. First, staffing apps like Wonolo — as well as its competitors Shiftgig and soon-to-be launched UberWorks — are trying to get a market edge by offering more benefits to gig workers, who have traditionally gotten zilch. Additionally, Waze Carpool, which launched across the U.S. in October, is trying to get an edge over Uber Pool and Lyft Line by partnering with private enterprises. Waze has already partnered with Amazon, for example, to help workers at its fulfillment centers carpool with one another.
Founded in 2013, Wonolo is headquartered in San Francisco. It recently raised a $32 million round of venture capital led by Bain Capital Ventures. Waze is owned by Google, with the majority of its workforce based in Israel.
Correction, 11:35 a.m. Pacific Updated with AJ Brustein’s correct title.