Lyft and GM, under its car-sharer brand "Maven," will launch a short-term car rental service for Lyft drivers in Chicago later this month, reports Re/code. The ultimate aim of the service is to enable more people to become Lyft drivers.
The rental program is a partnership between Lyft and GM, which has invested $500 million in Lyft. GM will maintain a fleet of Chevy Equinoxes in the Chicago area for the rental program, while both companies will cover the cost of insurance together. Lyft drivers will be be able to rent a vehicle based on a three-tiered pricing structure based on how many rides they complete each week.
If a driver completes fewer than 40 rides a week, the driver pays $99 per week for the vehicle, plus 20 cents per mile driven. If a driver completes between 40 and 64 rides a week, the driver only pays the $99 weekly fee. And if a driver completes 65 or more rides a week, the driver pays no rental fee at all.
"This is geared toward the millions of Americans across the country [who] don’t have access to a vehicle that is qualified to drive for the platform," Lyft cofounder and CEO John Zimmer told Re/code. "This solves a major component of it that probably isn’t possible without the type of relationship we have with General Motors, so it becomes a big differentiator."
After Chicago, Lyft and GM plan to roll out the car rental service in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, though no timeline was given for those launches. Zimmer is reportedly confident in the success of the initiative because in Chicago alone there have been 60,000 first-time Lyft applicants without access to a vehicle that meet Lyft’s qualifications. Across all four cities where the rental program will eventually roll out, 150,000 applicants in total currently lack access to vehicles that meet Lyft’s qualifications.
Besides the driver car-rental program, Lyft and GM are also working on another major initiative: an on-demand network of autonomous GM vehicles on the Lyft platform, says Re/code. However, that program is still a few years down the road.