Uber Enters The Rental Car Industry With Getaround
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Sharing technology continues to evolve: Uber and fellow share-technology startup Getaround teamed up Wednesday to launch Uber Rent, a peer-to-peer car-sharing option within the Uber app designed for consumers who want to drive themselves.
Uber Rent will pilot in San Francisco, where Uber users can select from a variety of rentable vehicles, from low-emission sedans to SUVs. Customers can sign up for Getaround directly through the Uber app by uploading their driver’s licenses, which will also allow them to reserve and unlock cars.
“Our mission is to empower people to carshare everywhere, and we’re making that possible by providing more people with access to car-sharing through the apps they already use,” said Sam Zaid, founder and CEO of Getaround. “Most of a person’s transportation needs can be met by coupling ride-sharing for quick trips with car-sharing for trips with multiple stops or longer getaways. It’s the perfect combination for people who have chosen to live car-free.”
Uber and Getaround worked closely together to design the app experience and integrate their technology for a seamless customer experience, building on a previous partnership from May 2017 that allowed people without cars to rent Getaround vehicles to drive for Uber.
San Francisco is a natural choice for the tech company partnership, given that both Uber and Getaround are headquartered in the city. However, Uber did not give a concrete timeline for the new launch, simply saying that San Francisco residents will “soon” be given access – within a couple of weeks, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Getaround allows users in major US metropolitan areas to rent cars by the hour or by the day, with insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance included, while avoiding traditional rental car pick-up counters. Although Getaround has a user app of its own, Uber has far greater market penetration, which most likely will bring a lot more attention to the car-sharing company.
Tech media publication Engadget speculates that the Getaround-Uber partnership will entice even more local residents to offer up their vehicles for rent, adding to Getaround’s existing available fleet of nearly 3,000 cars in the area, ranging from Priuses to Teslas to outdoors-worthy SUVs. However, Getaround has stiff competition in the Bay Area car-sharing market, while Uber Rent will have to compete against established services such as Zipcar.
The University of California Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center has conducted several studies measuring the environmental sustainability impact of car-sharing. The data showed that, for every one car shared, around 10 are taken off the road, and for every 1,000 cars shared, up to 50 million pounds of carbon dioxide are offset.
The Uber Rent news follows closely on the heels of yesterday’s announcement for a newly designed Uber driver app, as the ride-share pioneer continues its quest to distance itself from past mistakes.
Featured image by studioEAST/Getty Images.
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