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Waymo begins charging for Los Angeles driverless taxi service, ending the freebies

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

Free Waymo One driverless taxi rides in Los Angeles end Wednesday, as the company will now charge for rides, and there's a waitlist.

In March, the robotaxis rolled out to the L.A. public for free, as a way to promote and introduce the service to the community. Around 50,000 people signed up for the gratis driverless rides that covered a 63-square-mile area spanning from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles. 

The company said they informed current riders via email on Monday that they are transitioning to a paid service in Los Angeles starting Wednesday.

"Join the waitlist and we'll reach out when it's your turn to ride," Waymo wrote on its website.

Waymo came to Los Angeles seven months after California regulators authorized its robotaxis to begin charging for rides throughout San Francisco.

That came despite objections from local officials who asserted the driverless vehicles posed unacceptable risks to public safety. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation expressed concern that there isn't enough local oversight.

Waymo states on its website that the service operates around the clock, but cars will not go on freeways. They have a maximum speed limit of 65 mph.

Riders must also be 18 or older to ride alone, or may ride with a parent or another adult with consent from a parent or legal guardian.

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