Today, in a partnership with GM, the company announced its ‘Express Ride’ program, which will allow users to rent a GM vehicle for up to 8 weeks with the purpose of picking up fares through the app and making a little cash on the side
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“We’ve been thinking about this for a while, and we want to treat our driver community better than anyone else,” Lyft CEO John Zimmer said on a call about the partnership.
‘Express Drive’ will make its debut in Chicago, where GM will furnish 125 Chevy Equinoxes through its Maven program. The program will then roll out to several cities including Boston, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
Drivers will be able to rent vehicles for $99/week with a minimum of 40 Lyft fares. If a driver nabs more that 65 fares, there is no rental fee for the vehicle. Both Lyft and GM will cover maintenance and insurance for the fleet.
Both companies see the partnership as a stepping stone to their true goal: creating an autonomous fleet of cars.
“[The program] builds infrastructure that is a very critical and important step for our goal of developing an integrated network of autonomous vehicles,” said Julia Steyn, GM’s Vice President of Urban Mobility.
Although neither Steyn nor Zimmer was specific, it’s not a stretch to consider that infrastructure will come in the form of driver and rider data. As the dawn of the autonomous car rapidly approaches, the traffic data would work along nicely with ride flow to mimic driver habits, popular hangouts and other key things that will make the driverless car smarter at picking up riders.