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Your Complete Guide to the Waze Carpool App

July 21, 2020 //

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rideshare can get expensive over time, but sharing a ride through Waze Carpool can be your best opportunity to save.

With the cost of car ownership and car maintenance already high, rising gas prices are encouraging commuters to find new ways to save on their way to work or college. However, cheap options like public transportation can be time-consuming and unreliable, while affordable rideshare options like UberPool still cost more than you’d hope. For many commuters, the rise of modern carpool platforms is making traditional carpooling a practical solution once again.

In this article, we’ll give you a thorough introduction to Waze Carpool, how it works, and how you can sign up today.


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What Is Waze Carpool?

Waze is best known as a navigation app owned by Google, but since late 2018, its carpool service has taken off across the United States, Brazil, Israel, and Mexico as well.

Waze Carpool is a platform that connects you to carpoolers on your route to help you save money without wasting time. As soon as you get matched, you can start taking the HOV lane to work and back home, all in the company of your fellow Wazers.

While keeping commuting costs extremely low, Waze’s carpooling service adds convenience to the traditional carpool by using technology to match you with a driver or riders, schedule pick-up and drop-off times, and facilitate payments. This ensures you won’t be arguing about late arrivals or who owes what.

How Does Waze Carpool Work?

Waze Carpool homepage

Whether you want to be a driver or a rider, Waze Carpool will automatically help you find people who are headed in the same direction when you create your work schedule on the homepage of the app. Unlike rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft, this carpool app allows drivers to offer rides to users and gives riders the power to choose who they request carpools from.

While the technology helps you get matched, the ultimate decision on whether or not you want to carpool with the locals you find is up to you. Both parties can message each other through the app as needed once a ride offer or request has been accepted.

Waze Carpool payments, on the other hand, are fully facilitated by the app. When you use Waze, the total cost of the route — based on standard mileage rates — is divided by the amount of people sharing the ride. Each rider pays their share, which goes directly to the driver.

Waze currently waives all service fees, meaning they’re not making a cent off of the transaction, so it’s unarguably the most affordable carpool service around. To ensure Waze Carpool drivers aren’t taking advantage of the platform to save on gas money wherever they go, drivers are also currently limited to two trips per day.

Is Waze Carpool Safe to Use?

Admittedly, Waze Carpool is not the safest transportation option out there, though improvements are steadily being made.

When you use the platform, drivers are not screened and the trust factor instead comes from the fact that these people are fellow members of your community. Still, while riders and drivers were once blindly matched with one another, you now have the option to view star ratings and mutual friends. You can also choose your preferred gender to ride with and filter by people who share your same workplace. All of this allows you to have more power over who you’re riding than you would on rideshare apps.

There is still no guarantee that drivers have clean criminal records or haven’t been cited for any major driving violations. However, Waze Carpool hasn’t seen any major issues since its launch and the platform keeps your exact addresses private. No-show drivers and riders have been the source of the biggest complaints so far.

How to Sign Up for Waze Carpool

Regardless of whether you want to be a rider or driver, the sign-up process for Waze Carpool is simple and can be completed within minutes. However, there are two different processes depending on which role you want to take on.

Signing Up as a Rider

Waze Carpool app screenshot

If you’re interested in signing up as a rider, you first need to download the Waze Carpool app from your App Store or Google Play store. Then, follow these easy steps to sign up:

  1. Open the Waze Carpool app and tap “Ride in a carpool.”
  2. Set your carpool route by entering your home address and work address.
  3. Tap “Connect with Facebook” or “Connect with Google.” This is a required step to help verify your identity.
  4. Type in your phone number and tap “Next.”
  5. Enter the verification code once you receive it via text, then tap “Next.”

When you sign up today, you’ll be rewarded with a free first ride, which expires after one month. As soon as you’re ready to get matched with potential drivers for your commute, set your pick-up time using the prompts on the home screen. You’ll then be able to scroll through drivers, filtering as desired, and tap “Ask for a ride” when you find the best match for you.

After your free ride, we recommend going into your settings and setting up your payment method to ensure you can quickly find your next carpool.

Signing Up as a Driver

If you’re interested in signing up as a driver, you’ll actually need to download the regular Waze app from the App Store or Google Play store instead. Once you have the Waze app on your smartphone, follow these steps to sign up:

  1. Open the Waze app and tap “Get started.”
  2. Accept the Waze End User License Agreement.
  3. Tap the “Carpool” tab at the bottom of your screen.
  4. Select “I Drive.”
  5. Set your carpool route by entering your home address and work address.
  6. Tap “Connect with Facebook” or “Connect with Google.”
  7. Type in your phone number and tap “Next.”
  8. Enter the verification code once you receive it via text, then tap “Next.”

With the sign-up process complete, we recommend tapping into your settings and completing your profile to get as many ride requests as possible. This includes adding your vehicle information and work information, and connecting your social media accounts. We also recommend adding your banking information (which remains private) to make sure you get paid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Person's hands on a Jeep steering wheel

Once your Waze Carpool app is set up, you can start saving on every ride. Here are frequently asked questions you may have:

1. What payment methods can I use to pay or get paid for my Waze Carpool trips?

All payments are processed through Google Pay. That said, riders can connect their credit card, debit card, Google Store Financing card, PayPal account, or bank account to their Google Pay account in order to pay for their trips. Drivers, on the other hand, must connect their bank account to their Google Pay account in order to receive their payments.

2. How often do Waze Carpool drivers get paid?

Waze Carpool drivers will receive their payments on a monthly basis, on the first day of each month. Payments may take up to 15 days to go through. If you reach the 15th day of the month and still don’t get your payment, make sure to contact Waze by submitting the issue through this form.

3. Can I choose who I ride with instead of automatically getting matched?

You absolutely can. Waze recently launched a “Groups” function that allows you to invite the people you know into a carpool. This way, you can continue riding with them in the future. With this feature, you can simply use Waze to facilitate rides and payments, improving upon an informal carpool.

Share Your Ride

Using Waze Carpool will allow you to start saving and fly through the carpool lanes during the busiest times of the day. This brand new app is the most affordable way to share your ride, without any service fees or need for public transit. As the empty seats in your vehicle fill up, the cost of your commute will only reduce more.

If you’re interested in searching for a more secure rideshare platform, check out our guide to Zimride to learn how you can join a private network of riders and drivers with your exact same destination.

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