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Waymo expands ‘rider only’ service in Phoenix

Phoenix Business Journal

Waymo has expanded the area it is operating its autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix, which will include service to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The company, a subsidiary of Google owner Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), announced Friday that it will now operate its Waymo One in an expanded service area in Phoenix. Now it roughly runs between I-17 to 40th Street and from Camelback Road to the Salt River. Waymo One is the name of the company’s fully autonomous service.

The city of Phoenix and Waymo boasted that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport became on Friday the first airport in the world to offer travelers the ability to take a Waymo autonomous vehicle as a means of transportation to and from the airport.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Michelle Peacock, the global head of policy and government relations for Waymo, arrived at a Friday morning press event at Sky Harbor in a Waymo without a driver or autonomous specialist in the vehicle.

In November, Waymo had started offering rides to the airport with one of its specialists sitting in the driver’s seat, but now Waymo users can get “rider-only” service to Sky Harbor.

“We want to be a city that is known for innovation,” Gallego said. “We are glad to be an innovative city — taking some risks but hopefully we deliver a better airport experience.”

The service allows people who become part of Waymo’s Trusted Testers program to get in one of its fully electric Jaguar I-PACE cars equipped with the Waymo Driver program 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pickups and drop-offs at the airport will take place at the 44th Street Sky Train station.

Peacock told the Business Journal that the partnership Waymo has made with Sky Harbor and the city of Phoenix will hopefully make it easier for the company to expand its services to other cities and airports.


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