Building on a $500 million partnership between General Motors and ridesharing service Lyft forged back in January, GM now offers what it calls “Express Drive,” a short-term rental program to existing Lyft drivers.
Under Express Drive, Lyft drivers are able to rent certain GM vehicles for use with the ride-sharing service. Express Drive costs the driver $99 per week, and includes insurance and maintenance for the duration of the rental. Lyft drivers in Chicago will be the first to access the Express Drive system, with Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and other cities following in the near future.
If the participating Lyft driver is particularly busy, the Express Drive vehicle could be accessed for free. In Chicago, for example, a driver who completes 65 individual rides per week would get his or her Express Drive that week for free. Qualified Lyft drivers can rent cars regularly for up to eight weeks at a time.
The two corporations predict this will open up the floodgates for new Lyft drivers, as 60,000 people have applied to drive for Lyft in Chicago, but failed to possess a qualified vehicle. Through Express Drive, Chicago drivers can access Chevrolet Equinox crossovers for just $99 a week.
Lyft competitor and ride sharing king Uber features a similar program for flexible and affordable vehicle financing. Uber drivers are able to purchase cars through what Uber calls “exclusive” financing packages, as long as the cars are used primarily for the ride-sharing service.
GM is also experimenting with running its own car-sharing program, called Maven, which allows drivers to rent vehicles for short periods of time, like Zipcar.