Tech

Lyft is rolling out car rentals in Los Angeles and San Francisco

The rentals come with free drop-offs and unlimited mileage.

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Lyft is rolling out car rentals to select users in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. The new service falls in line with Lyft’s aim to provide a multitude of transportation options within one app. The company says its rental cars will be packed with services like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and optional gear like booster seats, and the price will cover cleaning.

Lock you in with loyalty — Both Uber and Lyft have also been experimenting with monthly subscriptions that offer benefits like fixed-price rides and credits for bike rentals. Uber has a loyalty program where users can earn points to put towards rides and food orders.

These ideas aren’t without merit — it’s been shown that members of Amazon Prime appreciate the convenience so much that they stop price comparing with other retailers before hitting 1-Click. If you’re less price-sensitive the ridesharing giants might be able to raise ride fares and pay drivers more.

The regions Lyft is targeting already have similar services already in operation that let you instantly rent a car from an app, like Getaround and Turo. Lyft is differentiating itself in two ways: free rides to and from your car, and unlimited mileage — a big plus for someone like me who always goes over the limit.

Becoming an everything transportation app — For Lyft, and its main rival Uber, the traditional ridesharing space has become so crowded that lowering prices alone is no longer sustainable. They’re public now and need to seek a profit. Instead, these companies are trying to find new services to differentiate themselves and keep customers locked into their respective apps.

Both Lyft and Uber now offer scooter and bike rentals in select cities, and both will give you public transit directions. The basic idea is that whenever you think about going anywhere, you just open Lyft (or Uber). Car rentals further increase the number of options.