[By Chris McGinnis]
Lyft is testing a new rental car service in California, joining the likes of app-based rental car options such as GetAround, Maven or Turo.
In a blog post yesterday, the ridesharing company said, “With Lyft Rentals, we’re giving riders the flexibility to rent a car for weekend getaways, business trips, or even to run errands. Best of all? You can set everything up in the Lyft app.” However, the company has been tinkering with this option since May.
How will it work?
To rent a car from Lyft, you’ll need to have the latest version of the app. When calling up a ride, look along the bottom of the screen for the key icon. When you click on it, you get a menu of cars and rates available. (Daily rates can range from $35 to $139, depending on demand.) Pick your car, and then set up your ride to the rental car lot. Lyft covers the cost of this ride up to $20. At the Lyft rental car lot, a concierge will greet you and help you get set up in the car you’ve selected. Lyft promises, “no lines, hidden fees or last-minute vehicle model changes.”
Then you use the car for as long as you want– there are no mileage fees. Rates are per day, not per hour, so if you rent for less than a day, you’ll still pay for a full day. Rates are cheaper on weekdays than on weekends. When you are done, you drop the car back at the lot or in one of several marked parking spots around town, and put the keys in a drop box. Then, if needed, you call up a Lyft car for a ride back to your home or office, and again, Lyft covers the cost of this ride up to $20. You can add fuel yourself, or Lyft will do it for you, promising to charge the local market rate, not an overly inflated price.
Currently, the rental car option is only available on the iOS version of the app– Android is coming in early 2020. In San Francisco and Oakland, Lyft Rentals has two car models available: a 5-seat Volkswagen Passat sedan and a 7-seat Volkswagen Atlas SUV. In Los Angeles, it offers a 5-seat Mazda3 sedan and the 5-seat Mazda CX-5 SUV. Lyft says all cars come with with automatic transmission, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
For insurance, Lyft is offering a collision damage waiver paid at the time of rental. You should check your personal auto policy to determine if you are covered for rentals.
CNBC reports that rental car stock prices took a hit when Lyft announced the new option on Thursday.