Lyft drivers who don't have a car can rent one from GM -- and it's free if they drive enough

Companies like Uber and Lyft could make car ownership obsolete. Having a ride when you need it gives you one less reason to own a car.

A new program from Lyft could help its drivers escape car ownership as well.

“We’ve now made car ownership optional on both sides of the market,” Lyft founder and President John Zimmer told reporters on a conference call Monday. “If you look now on the driver’s side, you also don’t need to own vehicle.”

The new Express Driver program, which launches Tuesday in Chicago, is a partnership with General Motors. Lyft drivers can rent cars from GM for one to eight weeks. If a Lyft driver hits more than 65 rides in that week long time span, it’s free — maintenance and insurance included.

Lyft express driveLyftThe pricing for Lyft Express Drive

Lyft had seen potential drivers getting rejected because their car was too old or they didn’t own it themselves, Zimmer explained.

In Chicago, Lyft saw more than 60,000 people who wanted to work, but did not have a car that met Lyft’s standards. That’s where the new partnership with GM comes in.

GM is supplying the 125 Chevy Equinox SUVs that will launch the program in Chicago, and will cover the cost of maintenance on the vehicles. Both GM and Lyft are splitting the insurance burden, but there’s no revenue sharing involved between the two. (Although GM’s investment in Lyft means the car maker will profit if Lyft does well).

Express Drive will soon be expand to Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and other cities depending on demand.

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