Waymo, a car company making a name in Silicon Valley for its autonomous vehicles, will now offer rides in Los Angeles. Starting in Santa Monica at the Third Street Promenade, which began late last week, they will eventually spread around Los Angeles neighborhoods in November. At this time, riders can earn one week of free rides by attending an in-person pop-up for the company or signing up online, while the offer is still available.
The service offered is specifically known as Waymo One.
Waymo One is the 24/7 taxi service that these autonomous vehicles are providing at the moment. They were made available in Santa Monica as of October 11th. A rider is required to obtain an activation code in order to utilize the free rides.
The company is still largely in a testing phase; however, they have been testing for countless months in Silicon Valley, with most being quite successful. Some expressed excitement at this company finally moving to Los Angeles, while others expressed their concerns and hesitancies. One woman said that she cannot wait for the day she can send her children to their extracurriculars in these cars. She said for now they are still too young for her to comfortably send them off on their own like that, but that in the future she will love doing that.
Teamsters in particular were the most vocally against the former Google brand car company working its way to Los Angeles. They held protests at the Third Street Promenade and could be heard chanting at the protest “Waymo Hell No.” The Union is concerned about how these vehicles will affect roads and drivers’ lifestyles. They were pushing local governments to write more legislation to regulate the vehicles.
As of November, the cars will be seen in Silicon Valley; Phoenix, Arizona; Santa Monica; Century City; West Hollywood; Mid-City; Koreatown; and then Downtown LA.
Many people who are a part of self-driving vehicle forums and pages dedicated to excitement for these vehicles were sent advanced emails about the Waymo One program moving to Santa Monica. They filled the streets of the Promenade in their excitement, forming a long line before the pop-up even opened up. While there, guests were given t-shirts and tote bags for Waymo. They also received their activation code which granted them access to the one week of free Waymo rides.