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June 9, 2022

Why I Ride with Waymo: Candace

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Editor’s note: Meet another one of our Trusted Testers: Candace, a software engineer who just moved to San Francisco. Learn more about how they’re using the service, what some of their early feedback is, and whether or not this is something they’d recommend to others in the city (spoiler alert: yes!).

Hey Candace - thanks for taking the time to chat. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I live in the Sunset and just moved here in the beginning of September last year, so pretty recently. I was previously living in Boston for school, where I graduated earlier this year with a Masters in Computer Science. I’m currently a software engineer working remotely.

Congrats! That’s a big accomplishment. As a new resident, how have you been getting around the city, and how did you hear about Waymo and first get involved in the Trusted Tester program?

I don’t have a personal car, so usually it’s a combination of walking and taking Muni. I had heard of Waymo before here and there, but then I came to San Francisco and saw the cars around my neighborhood. In terms of how I found out about the Trusted Tester program, someone posted an article about the program in one of our company channels, and I thought it looked interesting.

What specifically drew you in?

I think my technical background had a lot to do with it and wanting to satisfy curiosity about what the experience is like and how that feeds into comfort. I work with technology systems a lot but don’t always trust them, so I wanted to see how I felt and if I felt comfortable. 

And do you?

Yes, overall I feel more comfortable than I anticipated. In the beginning, I was looking out the window every single second and always aware of what was going on. Now, I’ve gotten much more comfortable and don’t even look up from my phone.

How often are you taking Waymo rides, and where are you going?

I use it a few times a week - usually running errands, whether it’s getting food, grabbing a prescription, or going by Stonestown to pick up some things. Other times I’ll take it to meet up with people after work.

What types of feedback do you have about the experience so far?

I have generally positive feedback about the overall experience. I really like how smooth and intuitive the interface is both in the app and in the car, and I use the music feature the majority of rides. I look forward to seeing the service area expand, but if I want to get somewhere outside of it, usually I can just stop right by it and walk the rest of the way.

I’ve also given a lot of feedback on situations where the Waymo vehicle is waiting behind cars that are turning, but it’s one of the places I see it making improvements, like getting more assertive at making lane changes.

Now that you’ve been riding for a few months, would you recommend the Trusted Tester program to other people?

Definitely. I think I’ve already sent the link to the application to become a tester to at least one or two people.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Another major motivating factor for me is that Waymo has the potential to be a cost-effective ride-hailing option in the future. Traveling throughout the city can be expensive, and not everyone has the convenience of waiting for a ride from someone or spending time walking without sacrificing something else. From what I understand, autonomous ride-hailing prices could be more reasonable, promising, and competitive, especially during busy hours.