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Lyft is testing out a car rentals program in San Francisco

May 13, 2019

Lyft is looking for ways to diversify its business.

 

The ride-share company has already invested in scooter and bike rentals, and now it's looking like car rentals may be next. A test program is underway now in San Francisco, the company confirms, and it sounds more like a traditional rental service than, say, ZipCar.

 

"We've added bikes, scooters, and public transit info into the app in cities across the country, and we're currently testing a small-scale rental option for long-distance trips, like a weekend away," a Lyft spokesperson told Engadget.

 

While the company didn't get into specifics, reports from program participants suggest it could be a decent deal — assuming the pricing remains the same in a more widely available rental program. Customers can rent a standard-sized sedan for around $60 per day and an SUV for $100 per day. There's also possibly Lyft credit for those who use the ride-share service to get to or from a rental lot, as well as free add-ons like bike racks and tire chains.

 

The Engadget report also notes that while there's no hourly rate for rentals, a la services like ZipCar, there's also no limit on the number of miles that can be driven. All the rental vehicles are new cars, and rental agreements can last as long as two weeks.

 

That's quite a bit different from Express Drive, Lyft's rental partnership with GM (other partners have since gotten involved). That program is aimed more at ride-share drivers (or would-be drivers) who either lack a car or don't want to use their own car to drive for Lyft.

 

Even if it does go wider, the new rental program isn't likely to become the cornerstone of Lyft's business. In the days after the company's IPO in March 2019, the common wisdom held that investors were betting on Lyft (as well as the rival Uber) as a future success story, to be propelled by developing autonomous vehicle technology and consumer acceptance of the same.

 

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