Lyft Drivers Will Soon Be Able to Rent Cars Through Avis

The rental giant will add ‘thousands’ of cars to Lyft's existing Express Drive program.

Josh Edelson/AP Images for Lyft

Ride-hailing services encourage people to give up their cars, unless they happen to be driving for said services. Now, even ride-hailing drivers may not need to own their own cars, thanks to a partnership between Lyft and Avis. The rental giant will add "thousands" of cars to Lyft's existing Express Drive program, making it easier for drivers to rent rather than own.

Through the partnership, Lyft drivers will be able to rent a car directly through the Lyft app. Avis said Lyft rental cars "are expected [sic] be available in the next few months." The partnership builds on Lyft's current Express Drive program, which was launched in 2016 in concert with Hertz and Flexdrive.

Renting could help Lyft drivers save money on car payments and vehicle maintenance costs. A recent study found that about half of the people driving for Lyft and its rival Uber earn less than minimum wage once maintenance and fuel costs are factored in. Lyft previously said that drivers who rent frequently through Express Drive can save up to $4,500 per year on insurance and maintenance costs.

Lyft has made some efforts to beef up driver supports recently, pledging to spend $100 million on driver-support centers, and appointing former Tesla executive Karim Bousta as Vice President of Driver Experience Operations. Upon stepping into the role, Bousta said he would make streamlining the car-rental process a priority.

Renting cars to ride-hailing drivers is not a new concept. In addition to Lyft's Express Drive program, General Motors' Maven division provides rentals to ride-hailing and delivery drivers in certain cities through its Maven Gig program. Uber also offers rentals in some cities, and previously offered car leases through its Xchange program. Xchange was shuttered due to higher-than-expected losses.

The Lyft partnerships isn't Avis' first venture beyond the traditional rental business. The company bought car-sharing service Zipcar in 2012, and has a partnership with Waymo to maintain the former Google self-driving car technology project's fleet of test cars.