Israeli company Moovit, which offers a real-time public transit app, has launched a pilot program for its new ride-sharing service, Moovit Carpool, which matches drivers to passengers who use the similar routes on a regular basis.
The Moovit app has been downloaded 30 million times in 60 countries, including 2 million downloads in Israel alone.
The company is now moving beyond its status as a real-time planner and information source into the world of ride-sharing, with the stated goals of lowering costs for car owners, offering commuters more convenient and faster travel options, and even reduce traffic congestion. Moovit is thus placing itself as a direct competitor to Waze, which operates a similar service.
Drivers interested in taking commuters on rides regularly can download a new app called Moovit Carpool, currently only available on Android devices. The driver selects the origin and destination of the ride and what time he or she usually takes the route. Those interested in being passengers can open the regular Moovit app and see convenient rides.
Passengers are to pay the driver for expenses, with payment done with credit card via the app, with the price being based on the distance of the ride – usually a similar price to public transportation along the same route.
A rating system is meant to prevent cancellations or other problems, as is the requirement for users to verify their identities with a phone number and Facebook account.
Like Waze's Ridewith service, Moovit's venture could encounter regulatory and legal difficulties. For one thing, the law forbids drivers who don't hold a public transit license from providing rides at a cost. Furthermore, mandatory insurance policies for cars do not cover transporting passengers for a fee.
And like Waze, Moovit is trying to circumvent these problems by limiting rides to two a day and setting up a payment system so drivers only receive reimbursement for rides and cannot make profits.