#232, Cruise driverless ride share debuts in San Francisco

James Raia

After several years of negotiation and testing, Cruise was at the front of the autonomous line last week. It became the first driverless taxi service in San Francisco to charge for its services. The limited service area program features solo occupants getting rides in Chevrolet Bolts.

The system is currently geofenced to the Northwest corner of the city of San Francisco, mostly residential areas in a grid of low-speed streets.

Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia talk with Jackie Shannon, Director of Product Management at Cruise, in this episode of The Weekly Driver Podcast.

The Cruise driverless taxi service debuted last week in San Francisco.
The Cruise driverless taxi service debuted last week in San Francisco.

The episode was taped the day after Cruise’s debut. We were curious to hear about the company’s feedback from passengers the day after its first night of operation.

Cruise: Limited Debut in San Francisco

Shannon shared details of the company’s background and its purpose as a ride-share option.

The company’s spokeswoman also explained the anticipated popularity of the autonomous car ride-share program, particularly among women passengers seeking increased safety.

Bruce and I have co-hosted the podcast for more than four years. We keep the 30-minute episodes light. We provide exposure for our guests and their product and services. On many occasions, guests have told us how much they enjoyed the conversation.

Our conversation with Jackie Shannon was enjoyable, but she was “guarded.” The conversation was coordinated by Tiffany Tesso, Senior Manager of Engineering External Communications at Cruise. We appreciate her diligence and assistance in finalizing the episode and her last-minute technical consult.

Tesso told us she would be monitoring the podcast, which was agreeable. But what we did not appreciate was being instructed during the interview to “stay on topic.” We were told Shannon’s job was only to discuss “user experience.”

Cruise: Let Reporters Due Their Jobs

We’ve edited out the intrusions, part of an unprofessional, passé PR tactic used to control an interview. We hope you enjoy the remaining conversation about the autonomous industry and its fast-moving future.

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Article Last Updated: July 4, 2022.

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