There are plenty of options for transportation when you need a ride. You can always opt for Lyft or Uber for a quick fix. But, what about carpooling services like Waze Carpool or UberPool? Here’s how to figure out which is best for you.
What is Waze Carpool?
Waze Carpool is for exactly what it sounds like: carpooling and being able to use the carpool lane. It isn’t a service meant for hailing rides. Instead, it serves one simple purpose: pairing drivers and riders looking to utilize the carpool lane. The carpool lane, also known as a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) or commuter lane, is strictly meant only for vehicles with 2 or more riders.
As such, it’s often empty, meaning you could theoretically cruise down the highway using that particular lane and reach your destination faster than everyone else—but if you’re doing so while riding solo, you’re looking at a potentially hefty fine.
Waze Carpool lets you sift through a selection of potential drivers, filtering by criteria such as coworkers, genders, and more to find Waze users that match up best with your needs. It’s as simple as that.
The Waze Carpool app is a separate service from the traffic app Waze, so make sure you grab the right one from the app store.
Setting up your account isn’t as simple, though. Waze Carpool only lets you log in with Facebook or Google, meaning you won’t be able to make an app-specific account. If you’re not comfortable linking your Waze Carpool account with one of these profiles, you’ll have to make a throwaway profile for either platform. It’s one frustrating aspect of the app. In contrast, Uber and Lyft let you create separate accounts.
Also, note that you must take a photo of yourself to finish the signup process, so keep this in mind when logging in for the first time.
How is Waze Carpool Different Than UberPool?
Waze Carpool isn’t the only ride-sharing service around. Uber also has a carpool feature named UberPool. Unlike Waze Carpool, UberPool works as part of the regular app. It appears as an additional option when you enter your pickup and destination.
Uber is a lot easier to set up for the first time than Waze CarPool, and will let you create an account without linking it to your Google or Facebook profiles. Also, you’re encouraged, not forced, to upload a photo.
UberPool also provides a more uniform and professional service than Waze Carpool. With Waze, it not professional drivers employed to give you a ride; instead, it’s regular users sharing their vehicles with you.
The UberPool feature lets you choose a destination and confirm a request for a driver that’s headed the same way you are—also likely using the carpool lane, much like Waze Carpool. This way, you get a much cheaper ride than you would if you were using a strict pickup and dropoff service like regular Uber or Lyft. As the official UberPool website states, “expect additional pickups and drop-offs along your trip.”
Note: Lyft previously featured a Lyft Carpool option for commuters in the Bay Area in San Francisco, but the company quickly shuttered the feature after so few drivers opted in. It was live for just five months before getting the ax.
What’s the Difference Between Carpool Services and Standard Uber/Lyft?
Apps like Uber and Lyft are strictly for requesting rides. Both are used as taxi services, where you can request a pickup and drop-off at particular locations. While you’re still entering a stranger’s car—just like in Waze Carpool—the express purpose of both services is to get you from point A to point B instead of exploiting the carpool lane loophole.
Your ride fare is automatically calculated within the app, and your driver will pick you up to take you where you need to go. There are no complicated road rules to keep in mind, and the length of your trip is up to you depending on where you need to go. It’s more appropriate to use Lyft or Uber in situations where you might need a ride to the airport, a lift to pick up a rental car, or simply when you’re in the city and don’t want to use public transportation.
It also works beautifully when you’re exploring another city and have trouble finding or hailing a cab. With regular Lyft and Uber rides, you also won’t have to worry about making multiple stops to pick up other riders like when you opt to become part of a carpool.
Keeping these differences in mind, you should be able to decide which app is more appropriate for your situation. Happy travels!
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