Uber is teaming up with Getaround to provide an easier way for drivers without cars to provide rides through the service. Starting in San Francisco, a new pilot will allow Uber drivers to use the Getaround app to rent cars on-demand from pick-up spots throughout the city, and pay a $5 per hour flat rate for use of the vehicle, including insurance, gas and unlimited miles.
The rental arrangement is similar in some ways to deals that Uber has in place with GM, and with Hertz, and there are some services designed specifically to provide rental services to Lyft and Uber drivers, including HyreCar. The Getaround deal adds that startup’s spontaneous rental model, which works similar to car2go, Zipcar and other short-term rental companies with cross-city presence, albeit with individual and partner fleet operator-owned vehicles. The cars used for this are not those provided to Getaround by individuals, but are supplied by Xchange Leasing, Uber’s existing lease program for drivers.
The Uber partnership with Getaround also includes a free trial for new users, with 14 hours of free driving (during one continuous rental) for the first time. To get the trial and Getaround access, drivers will still need to be approved through Uber’s program, which requires sign-up and its standard screening procedure. Those approved will receive a special Getaround app download code that unlocks the trial.
Uber is positioning this as a way to attract driver who don’t want to own their own car, and who may be drawn to driving with the company as a means to pick up very occasional extra income, like those saving for an upcoming vacation.
Under increased scrutiny due to reports of unhealthy work culture, CEO missteps, a competitor driver tracking program, calls from California regulators for it to be tougher on drivers with drunk driving records, and the departure of its senior-most communications executive, Uber has been trying to improve the driver-side experience as a way to help it continue to attract, and also retain its membership on that side of its two-sided marketplace. This is yet another effort to lower the barrier on the onboarding side, while changes including more openness to feedback from drivers seem intended to keep drivers around once they’ve signed up.