“Fast Lane,” which is the company that holds the license to operate the fast lane on Road 1 into Tel Aviv, is suing navigation app Waze – owned by Google – for “discriminating” against it by failing to recommend that drivers use the fast lane during peak traffic hours. The company is seeking unspecified damages from Waze, as well as a restoration of the route into the app. The lawsuit accuses Waze of acting in a “monopolistic” manner by restricting drivers from using the fast lane.
The fast lane on Road 1 is 13 kilometers long, extending from the Ben Gurion Airport exit on the highway through to Tel Aviv. During peak morning commute hours, travel on Road 1 is usually very slow, with bumper to bumper traffic along the length of the highway. The fast lane allows for a much faster commute.
However, that speed comes at a price, which changes depending on the amount of traffic on the road. At peak times, the toll on the fast lane can be as high as NIS 70 ($22) for drivers who seek the privilege of navigating those 13 kilometers in ten minutes, instead of as long as the 40 minutes that drivers not in the free lanes will spend.
Until last August, Waze recommended the fast lane as an alternate route for drivers seeking to enter Tel Aviv, but many drivers were upset at the option because of the high cost of the fast lane – and complained to Waze, which removed the fast lane as a commuting option. According to the lawsuit, Waze had told the Fast Lane company that the reason it removed the route as an option was to prevent drivers from taking the route by accident and finding themselves saddled with unwanted bills. The company said that it would reimburse drivers who made that mistake, but Waze still refused to restore the fast lane as a commuting option.
Waze has not yet responded to the lawsuit, according to Yediot Aharonot.