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GM's Cruise starts to charge for fares in San Francisco

Kalea Hall, The Detroit News on

Published in Business News

Cruise LLC is officially open for business, offering driverless rides to paying customers on a small scale, CEO Kyle Vogt said Thursday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Cruise, which General Motors Co. has a majority stake in, earlier this month received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to charge fares for driverless rides in San Francisco. The approval made Cruise the first and only company with a commercial, driverless ride-hail service in a major U.S. city, Cruise Chief Operating Officer Gil West said in a blog post announcing the achievement.

The company had a "handful of rides" on Wednesday night, Vogt told CNBC.

The service is restricted to certain parts of the city during a specific timeframe. Users have to sign up to get on a waitlist to try the driverless Cruise service.

"We started small in a limited area and very quickly you're gonna see us expand to the point where we're covering all of San Francisco, hundreds of vehicles out there serving rides every night ... that could happen as soon as the end of the year," Vogt told CNBC.

 

Fares are comparable to other ride-hailing services, Vogt said.

"Over time, we're going to drop the cost dramatically of the technology and operating the service," he said.

Following the news, GM CEO Mary Barra on Thursday tweeted that Cruise "is quickly becoming synonymous with 'first' — another great #AV milestone for the team."

Cruise was founded in 2013 and GM acquired the company 2016. Vogt, the company founder, was again named CEO earlier this year after the abrupt departure of former GM executive Dan Ammann, who had led Cruise since January 2019.

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