Waymo can start charging for rides in their robotaxis in San Francisco

Waymo took another step towards charging riders for ride-hailing trips in its autonomous taxi fleet.

The company received a California Public Utilities Commission permit that allows Waymo to charge riders as long as a human safety operator is present.

Last September, Waymo received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to receive compensation for autonomous deliveries. Since then, the company partnered with Albertsons to deliver groceries to customers in and around San Francisco.

Since August, Waymo has offered unpaid rides in San Francisco through its Trusted Tester program. Riders were vetted and provided detailed feedback on their riding experience.

With this latest permit, Waymo will advance the program to offer paid rides anywhere within their service area.

Waymo did not release any more information on the cost or when the paid program would go live. Nor did they confirm if they applied to the California Department of Motor Vehicles for a driverless permit to transport passengers.

However, Waymo is already active in Phoenix, and the cost of the service is roughly $1 per minute. So, one would expect that the San Francisco-based operation will be in that ballpark.

Waymo operates a fleet of Jaguar I-PACE vehicles. However, we are still unsure exactly how extensive the fleet is in San Francisco.

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