Self-driving vehicle companies Waymo and Cruise have secured final approval to charge fares for fully autonomous robotaxi rides throughout the city of San Francisco at all hours of the day or night. Cruise has been granted permission to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week across all of San Francisco, while Waymo has been testing its self-driving taxis in the city since 2019.
The companies have had to secure a series of permits from city agencies in order to put robotaxis on the road, including approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to charge passengers for fares. The CPUC’s drafted resolutions would grant approval to Cruise and Waymo to charge passengers for fully autonomous rides in San Francisco.
However, San Francisco officials have resisted expanding access to robotaxis from Cruise and Waymo over concerns the companies are moving too quickly. There have been incidents where the driverless cars blocked traffic, including emergency vehicles. The city’s Transportation Authority has instead pushed for limited rollouts with gradual expansions. Cruise sought to expand its ride service to the entirety of the city, including previously excluded steep hills and roundabouts, offering 24/7 service, but the CPUC has only granted permission for the company to operate in certain areas.
Despite the challenges, Waymo and Cruise are making progress in the city. Waymo has been testing its self-driving taxis in San Francisco since 2019 and has been expanding its service area since then. Cruise was the first to start charging for self-driving rides in San Francisco and can now tout non-stop service. The wider access could help the GM-owned brand claim an edge over Waymo.
Waymo and Cruise have secured final approval to charge fares for fully autonomous robotaxi rides throughout San Francisco at all hours of the day or night. While the companies have faced challenges in expanding their services, they are making progress in the city and are poised to revolutionize transportation in the years to come.