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Uber, Zipcar sign car-sharing deal

Uber/Zipcar Partnership

Car-sharing service Zipcar signed a deal to provide vehicles to ride-hailing app Uber, possibly portending additional future cooperation in the burgeoning field of mobility services.

In a deal that could be described as if-you-can't-beat-em-join-em, Zipcar parent Avis Budget Group said Wednesday that it would supply Uber drivers with the opportunity to ferry passengers around in Zipcar branded sedans.

Although the deal is limited to 20 sedans in Boston for now, it opens the door for similar collaboration in other cities.

Zipcar provides rent-by-the-hour vehicles to motorists, particularly in urban areas, as an alternative to car ownership. Now, Uber drivers will be allowed to access the fleet of vehicles in Boston to serve their customers at hourly rental rates.

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Approved Uber drivers will pay $12 per hour, plus a $7 per month membership fee, to access the vehicles.

The companies did not provide details of the financial relationship between Uber itself and Zipcar, but Zipcar spokesperson Lindsay Wester in an email called it "a mutually beneficial partnership."

“As the automotive landscape evolves, technology is playing an ever-increasing role in transportation services, and we are well-positioned to meet new and evolving customer needs and demands, as evidenced by this new partnership,” said Andrew Kupiec, a vice president for Avis Budget. “Our quality, well-maintained vehicles, coupled with Zipcar’s technology, will give Uber’s driver partners wheels when they want them.”

It marks the latest in a series of Uber partnerships with car providers, including rental car firms Enterprise and Hertz, and most recently a deal with German automaker Daimler to provide self-driving cars in the future.

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