While Waze is perhaps better known for its flagship GPS app with real-time data provided by other users, the company first dabbled with a separate carpool service in its native Israel way back in 2015, and in the intervening years it has expanded this to Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S., where it landed back in October.
Up until now, a Carpool could only be initiated by a driver joining up with one other rider, after which other riders in the Waze Carpool network could request to join. Now, with this latest update, drivers can invite up to four other riders to join a carpool.
In the Waze Carpool app, the best matches — i.e. riders whose pickup / drop-off locations are closest to the driver — appear at the top. And before a carpool is confirmed, both the rider and driver can see detailed profiles of each other, including ratings, where they work, mutual Facebook friends, and more.
It’s a small but notable update, as it gives the driver more control in terms of being able to proactively seek riders for a carpool. Moreover, this will also allow drivers to better utilize high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) 3+ lanes, which require cars to have at least three passengers — Waze already has a feature that allows drivers to request routes that include HOV / fast lanes. This ties in with other similar smart routing features Waze has introduced recently, such as its tie-up with Transport for London that enables drivers to circumvent a new low emission zone in the city center that charges big fees for those with older vehicles. Earlier this month, Waze also started displaying toll road pricing so drivers in the U.S. and Canada can see a route’s rough price before setting off.
The latest feature is rolling out now in all Waze markets where Carpool is available.