Image Credits: Allen J. Schaben / Getty Images

Alphabet subsidiary Waymo is expanding its service area in San Francisco despite protests against robotaxis, while rival Cruise grapples with crashes and other incidents.

Waymo riders can now access the service across the vast majority of SF, Waymo announced on Monday on social media site X. The company had limited rides in many of the city’s northeastern neighborhoods — including Fisherman’s Wharf, Embarcadero, and Chinatown — to a couple thousand users. As of Monday, that figure expands to tens of thousands of riders, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.[Waymo]

Waymo’s services are still limited to folks who’ve made it through the company’s waitlist. Waymo’s SF service area still excludes Treasure Island, one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.

Back in June, northeastern SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin called robotaxis unsafe and “#NotReadyForPrimeTime” in a tweet. The supervisor’s office did not immediately respond to TechCrunch’s requests for comment on Waymo’s announcement.

The expansion, which Waymo hyped in a promo clip, comes just a few months after a big win for robotaxis in California. In August, the state’s Public Utilities Commission cleared the way for Waymo and General Motors-backed Cruise to offer commercial services in SF 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Soon after the contentious decision, the city of SF asked for a do-over, and California’s DMV ordered Cruise to cut its fleet in half over “recent concerning incidents.” Waymo operates roughly 250 AVs in SF, or about 22% more than Cruise maintains in the city.

Just a week ago, a Cruise AV ran over a pedestrian after a human-driven car struck them near Union Square.[Waymo]

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