Waze shuts down its carpool service due to fewer commuters

A pandemic decline in office commutes has lead to Google shutting down the feature.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

Fewer people commuting due to the COVID-19 pandemic means fewer people in need of carpools. That’s the reason Google-owned Waze has decided to shutter its six-year-old Carpool app, which matches riders and drivers headed in the same direction, reported The Verge. The company will begin shutting down the feature this September in the US, Brazil and Israel.

Waze’s Carpool app primarily was popular with commuters — the service offered a partner program so companies could offer it as a transportation alternative to workers. Waze Carpool drivers would get reimbursed (up to 54 cents per mile) in order to pick up passengers who lived on their way to work. Rather than a way to make extra bucks, most Carpool drivers saw it as a way to save on gas.

“While Waze was predominantly a commuting app pre-COVID, today the proportion of errands and travel drives have surpassed commutes,” Waze said in a statement given to The Verge.

The rise of telework and safety precautions during the pandemic has made carpools a lot less popular. Although more people are returning to the office this year, interest in carpools and public transportation ridership has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, the Washington Post noted. More people are working hybrid work schedules or only stopping by the office for meetings or other events, which make make coordinating carpools or vanpools less convenient. As a result, more people are driving to work alone.