Using Waze And Scoop Apps For Carpool Commuting

SUMMARY POINTS

> Waze Carpool and Scoop apps work best in big metros
> Availability of drivers can be spotty and inconsistent
> Create your own office carpool instead for less stress

It’s always in the same damn part of the drive to and from work.

The same traffic jam. Same spot. Every day. There’s no accident or toll booth. It just jams up in this same effin’ stretch of highway. It’s like everyone just silently agrees to slow down to a crawl here. Why oh why, dammit?!

As you creep along in bumper-to-bumper molasses, the herd of cars you’re part of only inches forward every few minutes. You can literally walk faster at this point - no joke.

Then, you glance over to the far left lane - the carpool lane.

Every few minutes, a car goes zipping by while you’re just sitting there, seething at how you’re not moving an inch. Thoughts of sneaking into the dedicated carpool lane cross your mind.

Maybe, it’s worth risking the $300 ticket?

Nope, can’t afford to pay that. You quickly shake off that idea.

How about getting an inflatable dummy passenger or a mannequin as your carpool buddy?

That’s “Carpool Kenny” an inflatable dummy doll. Armless and legless, it inflates in only a few minutes and easily fits in your front passenger seat. Just add a shirt and/or jacket and tah-dah...you’ve got yourself an instant carpool buddy.

Does it work? Is it passable as a human as you’re driving by a cop?

Until there are blind patrol officers, there’s no way in hell that this will work.

You’ve gotta do this the legit way and find a real, living, breathing human.

Today, we’ve got tons of dating apps and online matchmaking services. Post your most filtered glam headshot and fill out a profile and bam, you’re in the wild world of dating.

This same general concept is also available for commuters to find an ideal carpool partner. And, some of the same fundamental processes of “finding the one” comes into play here too.

A carpool match-making app can help you find a potential co-commuter that won’t “drive you crazy” haha.

Carpooling Match-Makers

There’s an app for everything these days. Today, there are several apps that cater to the specific needs of weekday commuters.

Of course, there’s Uber and Lyft for ride-hailing but using either of those services for getting to/from work Monday through Friday can be a pricey proposition. It’d be like taking a taxi - way too expensive. Leave this option for those weekend one-off trips to parties, events, etc.

A better and more cost-effective option is to use commuting-specific apps that “route-match” and “schedule-match” drivers and passengers.

Like many other services, there are a bunch of players in this space. So, to narrow things down to only the ones that are worthwhile to check out, we used the following qualifying criteria:

- Minimum of 1,000 reviews
- Minimum rating of 4 out of 5 stars
- Available on both iOS and Android
- Nationwide coverage in U.S.

With those filtering qualifiers, the two apps that we’ll be reviewing today are Waze Carpool and Scoop. 

Waze Carpool

(Credit: Waze Carpool)

Waze started out as a funky and cool alternative to the more traditional Google maps with unique features like crowd-sourced alerts from other fellow “Wazers” (i.e. - traffic jams, accidents, road hazards, police, etc).

Today, it’s now part of the Google family of services but lives on its own, separate from Google Maps. Their newest feature enhancement is what we’re taking a closer look at here and that’s Waze Carpool.

As A Carpool Driver…

If you plan on being a driver, you simply use the same normal Waze map app on your phone. If you don’t already have the app on your phone, you can download it here:

Waze for iOS
Waze for Android

Within the app, you set-up a driver profile with the following information:
- Home/work addresses (kept private)
- Morning/evening commute times
- Work email address (to find fellow coworkers)
- Vehicle make/model
- Number of available seats
- Linking to Facebook or Google account
- Google Pay account

Watch this quick minute and a half highlight video below. It hits the high points on getting set up as a driver.

VIDEO: Driving? How to Offer a Ride with Waze Carpool
YOUTUBE: Waze
LENGTH: 1:24

After completing the profile set-up, you can view and select people that match up with your planned commute. You can filter riders by gender and/or co-workers.

The beauty of this setup is that since you’re already driving to work anyway, you can bring along a fellow co-worker, a new friend, neighbor, etc for the drive and have them offset your commuting costs.

And with the app’s algorithms, you won’t have to drive way off your normal commuting route to pick-up and drop-off riders. This will minimize the nominal added time to your commute.

For this small compromise, you’ll get up to $0.54 per mile, which is the current IRS standard for vehicle mileage reimbursement. You have the option to lower this rate to make it even cheaper for your riders or keep it at the IRS standard.

You’ll need to set up a Google Pay account as all transactions are handled within the app using this service.

The current national average round-trip commute is hovering right around 30 miles (15 miles each way). So, if you take on one fellow passenger to and from work, you’ll be comped $16.20 for that day or $81 for the week.

That’s a good chunk of pocket money that can go toward your normal weekly fuel expenses, vehicle maintenance costs and maybe, even chip in toward your car payment.

We know what you’re already thinking...if you can take on more riders, this carpooling thing could be a nice little side hustle for you. But, sorry to break the bad news to you. With Waze Carpool, you only get paid for each trip, not by the number of riders you have.

And, you’re limited to two trips a day. This isn’t meant to be a primary source of income for you. It’s meant to offset your commuting costs.

The key thing here is that, as a driver, you must be reliable and consistent - whether you have riders or not. When word gets around that you’re just as reliable as Japanese train service, you’ll almost always have a rider hop in with you.

As A Carpool Rider...

If you plan on being a rider, you’ll need to download and install a separate app dedicated for Waze Carpool. This is different than the normal Waze map app.

You can download them here:

Waze Carpool for iOS
Waze Carpool for Android

Similar to the driver set up, you’ll need to set up a profile as a rider. Much of the same bits of information are needed by Waze to ultimately match you up with drivers that have closely matching commute routes and times.

- Home/work addresses (kept private)
- Morning/evening commute times
- Work email address (to find fellow coworkers)
- Linking to Facebook or Google account
- Google Pay account

As a rider, you’ll have a bit more filtering variables including driver rating, cost, gender and/or co-workers.

Watch this short highlight video below on being a rider.

VIDEO: Riding? How to Request a Ride with Waze Carpool
YOUTUBE: Waze
LENGTH: 1:26

Now as a rider, you’ll be paying the driver for their time driving their car and all the associated operating and maintenance costs, including fuel expense. Again, you’ll need to use Google Pay within the app to facilitate payments to the driver.

The great thing here is that the costs for carpooling are always going to be cheaper than using any of the other ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft, even with their cheaper pooling options.

In some cases, depending upon the driver and route plan, you may need to walk a short distance to an easy pick-up and/or drop-off point. In either case, it’s a very minor adjustment on your end to make the overall commute easier for all.

Whether you’re a Waze driver or rider, you’ll be able to benefit either way.

However, we have three main concerns:

First, if you have odd working hours outside of the normal 8am to 9am start and 5pm to 6pm end, this may not work out for you simply because there are fewer drivers commuting at off-peak or odd times.

Second, if your home is out in bumblefuck and/or your office isn’t in the central business district/area, the chances of getting matched up are going to be low.

And finally, there’s gotta be a meaningful population of drivers to make it work for riders every day as if they had their own car. As a rider, you need to know that you can get to and from work and not get stuck, even on those days where you’ve gotta work a bit later than normal.

With time, as more people sign-up to be drivers and critical mass is reached, that third point above will work itself out.

Got more questions or want to dig deeper about Waze Carpool?
Check out the Waze Carpool FAQ section on Google Help.

Scoop

(Credit: Scoop)

While Scoop and Waze Carpool have a lot of things in common. There are a few big differences between the two.

Here are some of the bigger ones that stood out to us.

Door-To-Door Service

Scoop offers a door-to-door arrangement whereas Waze Carpool sets pre-determined pick-up and drop-off points that are more convenient for the driver. This door-to-door service benefits Scoop riders but adds more inconvenience to drivers.

A few select drivers commented that the app added upwards of 30 minutes to their normal commute time - not a good thing if you want to get to work or home in a reasonable amount of time.

We’re guessing that this is more of an extreme case. If the algorithm is working well and matching up drivers and riders with the same or very similar commuting routes and times, it shouldn’t add too much time - even with the door-to-door service.

More Cost Reimbursement For Drivers

Scoop drivers can recover more of their commuting costs at a faster rate than with Waze Carpool. With Scoop, drivers get cost reimbursements on a per-rider basis versus the per-trip with Waze.

This makes sense because drivers need to offset the extra added time and distance of having to drive door-to-door for additional riders.

This means that the driver has the potential to recover more of his/her costs with additional riders. From what we gather, Scoop only allows up to two riders, not any more. This is to keep the commute time short while providing a bit more reimbursement for the driver.

The driver reimbursement amount typically ranges from $2-$9 per passenger, per trip. For riders, the costs will vary from about $2 to $10 depending on the distance and route adjustments for your commute. 

Daily Scheduling Deadlines

With Scoop, whether as a driver or rider, you need to submit your commuting information by set deadlines on a daily basis. Waze Carpool doesn’t have scheduling deadlines.

This can be seen as both a positive and negative thing depending upon your disposition for planning ahead or not.

Every evening at 9pm, drivers need to confirm their commuting route and departure time for the following morning drive. Riders need to submit their commute ride request with their pick-up, drop-off locations and departure time frames.

Then, during the day, drivers and riders repeat the same process by 3pm to schedule the commute back home.

In either case, if the driver or rider don’t match up, both are automatically put on a “short-list” for others to review and pickup if they so desire. 

Guaranteed Ride Home

This is perhaps one of the biggest selling points for Scoop over Waze Carpool. It’s called “Guaranteed Ride Home” program.

If you take Scoop to work in the morning and then, if you’re unable to secure a Scoop ride back home in the evening, Scoop offers partial reimbursement of alternate transportation back home via public transit or Lyft.

The reimbursement is the total cost of the alternate transport minus the cost of the Scoop ride you would have paid for, if it was available.

So, for example, if your scheduled Scoop ride home after work is $5 but you were unable to lock-in a ride, then had to pay for a Lyft ride home at $15, then your total reimbursement from Scoop would be $10 ($15 Lyft minus $5 Scoop ride).

The reimbursement is capped at $50 per month. So, for those with longer distance commutes, this could be an issue. Two Lyft rides could easily exceed the monthly minimum.

More Information…

If you want to dig deeper with Scoop, you can read the FAQs on their site here. It’s also a good idea to review the latest user reviews on the app stores for the most recent feedback.

Scoop for iOS
Scoop for Android

As with Waze Carpool, Scoop will get better and improve its coverage and reliability over time as more and more people join the community.

Our Take On Carpooling Apps - Good But Not Perfect

We love the concept of an app that can make our daily commute less painful and more enjoyable, plus help out the environment by reducing the amount of cars on the road. And of course, saving a little bit of money is always a good thing.

However, at this point in time, in general terms, these carpool apps don’t have the critical mass of drivers and commuting routes to ensure consistent and reliable rides on a daily basis - like rock solid dependability.

Of course, there are situations where drivers and riders get matched up well with ideal commuting arrangements and have been doing it for quite some time.

For those in big metros, you’ll have a much better chance of this happening. In this case, the apps may work as a daily carpooling option since there is a bigger population of both drivers and riders.

If you’re in this bucket, give it try and see if it works for you. Just be sure to have back-up plans in place for both the morning and evening commutes. Plan out mass transit options ahead of time or be prepared to pay for an Uber or Lyft.

With that said, our biggest sticking point is this…

Having to sort out a ride to/from work every day and not knowing for sure whether or not you have a guaranteed ride is just another stressor that we just don’t wanna to deal with.

Our Recommendation - Find An Office Carpool Buddy

(Credit: ABC)

For everyone else, we should follow the example set by Fred Flintstone and his BFF Barney Rubble. They’ve got an ideal set-up. Not only do they work together at Slate Rock and Gravel Company but they’re also next door neighbors in the town of Bedrock.

With two pairs of feet running and stopping the car, they get to and from work twice as fast with double the efficiency and power.

Now, you may not be able to have this kind of perfect carpool set-up like Fred and Barney, but you can get pretty close, especially if you work at a large company.

We think this is the best option.

Setting up your own casual office carpool with fellow co-workers has these positive points:
- Consistent and reliable
- Same exact work destination
- You know them and they know you
- Easier scheduling and communication
- No money payments (just alternate weeks)
- Possible extra company benefits

By buddying up on the daily commute, you’re trading a little bit of convenience and solitude for more time and money. And, these two things are often in short supply for nearly all of us.

So, get on the carpool bandwagon, even if it’s only for a few days out of the week. You’ll be glad you did.

Feel Better,
[Cubicle|Therapy]