Lyft Teams Up With GM to Launch Car Rental Program as It Aims to Get More Drivers

By Staff Writer

Mar 15, 2016 09:01 AM EDT

Ride-hailing service Lyft is teaming up with General Motors to launch a car-rental program. The program, called Express Drive, will be focusing on recruiting new drivers to join the ride-hailing service. Express Drive is launching this month in Chicago.

The partnership between Lyft and GM will be that the automaker provides the cars to rent during the short-term program. It was the first initiative to be unveiled after GM announced earlier this year that it would invest $500 million in the ride-hailing service. According to CNET, a few weeks later GM made a move to bolster its relationship with Lyft by paying an undisclosed sum to acquire the technology and other assets of ride-hailing service Sidecar.

The Express Drive program will allow Lyft drivers to rent cars for $99 a week plus 20 cents per mile for up to eight weeks. However, the program will reward drivers who log more than 40 rides to pay just the base fee, and drivers who log at least 65 rides in a week could get a free rental. This is one of the programs developed by Lyft to lure drivers from other ride-hailing rivals, mainly Uber. 

Lyft co-founder and president John Simmer explained the company's effort to encourage more drivers to join them. "Launching Express Drive is another way we treat drivers better, in addition to Power Driver Bonus, tips, and same day payout," Simmer said in a statement. "We're making sure everyone who wants to be a Lyft driver can be, by providing ultimate flexibility at incredible rates."

With the new program, Lyft is allowing drivers to join without owning a qualifying car so that the company will still assure riders' safety and comfort. Fortune reported that in Chicago alone, there were 60,000 people who applied to become a driver, but their applications were denied because their cars do not meet the requirements set by Lyft. For a car to be qualified as Lyft driver's car, it should be a 2004 (or 2008 in some cities) or newer, have four doors, and pass the basic safety requirements.

Reuters noted that both companies share the same ultimate goal with this program. Both Lyft and GM say that the program is the first step toward building a network of autonomous vehicles because it will establish the infrastructure to house, maintain and organize a large fleet of cars.

Lyft's new partnership with GM is bringing a car-rental service, allowing drivers to apply without having to own a qualifying car. It's the first initiative in the long-term $500 million relationship between the two companies. 

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