General Motors and Lyft are moving fast with their recent alliance, and Express Drive is an impressive step in recruiting and retaining drivers.
It’s been only two months since GM and Lyft inked a deal to collaborate on ridesharing, and the Express Drive short-term rental program that begins rolling out in Chicago this month is significant for a few reasons.
First is its low cost, which can shrink further, depending on your use of the rental.
The graduated fees, which hinge on how much you use your rental to drive for Lyft, are a triple win: GM, Lyft and the renter all benefit.
GM benefits by getting more cars in the field.
It helps Lyft encourage its driver pool to complete more rides each week. The backbone of Lyft (and Uber) is its “power” drivers, the ones who complete 100+ rides per week.
That’s because t’s not the dabbling drivers who keep the rideshare apps running on time – it’s the ones who put in the hours, day after day. The more Lyft can encourage its drivers to hit the road, the better its service works.
And, it helps the renters by allowing them work off the cost of driving a new car.
The GM and Lyft alliance seems better-positioned to offer rentals, particularly when you consider that Uber’s connection with Enterprise offers a similar service at more than twice the price, with no option to reduce the cost through driving.
Also, the Uber/Enterprise deal is for a sedan, while GM/Lyft specifies a roomier Chevrolet Equinox, which comes from the hot compact-crossover segment. Uber also demands $250 down before you can drive away.
This broadened accessibility to new cars also benefits Lyft’s riders. Rather than being ferried around in, say, a 15-year-old hatchback with 200,000 miles – yep, those cars can qualify as rideshare cars, at least in California – riders would be treated to a freshly minted Equinox while enjoying the view from the crossover’s higher seating point.
This makes Lyft look good, and perhaps the positive experience might encourage riders to swing by a Chevy dealer if they’re ever in the market for their own crossover.
GM also notes that you could rent through Express Drive to prevent the accelerated depreciation and maintenance on your own car. Use it just for Lyft and get in those 65 rides, and your rented Equinox becomes a way to avoid factoring those costs in with your own ride.
Rideshare driving continues to develop at a breakneck pace, and GM and Lyft aren’t wasting any time in blazing their mutually beneficial trails.
It wasn’t so long ago that predatory lenders were locking people into deals that could long outlast the owners’ desire to rideshare drive.
Now, with Express Drive, drivers can access a new car with no long-term contracts, and they can work it off by completing a reasonable 65 rides for the week, which well below the typical 100+ rides the services encourage for their “power” drivers.
With the fierce competition between the US’s two big rideshare brands, one question is: how will Uber top Express Drive?
And: how close does Express Drive bring Lyft to being like a cab company does Lyft, when its drivers are essentially paying to use cars from a corporate fleet?
Tell us in the comments – would YOU try Express Drive to be a Lyft driver?