In the past few years, Lyft has been throwing everything but the kitchen sink into its business model. Last year it introduced a program that provides rental cars to drivers. It also expanded ride options to include bikes, scooters and public transit routes.
Now the company is offering car rentals through a brand new program called Lyft Rentals. For now, this service has a very limited rollout in select cities—Los Angeles and the Bay Area—with just two car models per city on offer. At this time this service is only available on the iOS version of the Lyft app.
How Lyft Rentals Works
Lyft Rentals is different than other rental car companies in many ways . You can book your reservation on the Lyft app (available for iOS, and soon for Android). Lyft will cover your ride to and from the rental lot (up to $20 each way), where a "concierge" will greet you and get you on your way.
At the time of reservation, you may select an optional Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or decide to rely on your own auto insurance and/or credit card benefits. It pays to research your existing coverage before booking your car.
Out of the chute, Lyft Rentals is offering two models in San Francisco: the 5-seat Volkswagen Passat sedan and the 7-seat Volkswagen Atlas SUV. In Los Angeles, the available models are: the 5-seat Mazda3 sedan and the 5-seat Mazda CX-5 SUV.
To modify or cancel your reservation, tap the link in your confirmation email from your mobile device to edit your pickup and drop-off dates. To change the car type or any details beyond date and time, cancel and rebook your reservation.
Lyft Rentals only offers daily rates for periods of one to 14 days.
You must be at least 22 years old and have a valid driver's license (US or non-US) and credit card. Lyft Rentals does not accept cash, checks, prepaid cards or mobile payments like Apple Pay, Venmo or Paypal. There is an on-site ID check and you'll need to show the credit card used to make the reservation. If there are additional drivers on the reservation, make sure they come with you to pick up the car and have their driver licenses with them.
Every rental comes with unlimited miles. Vehicles come equipped with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and phone chargers and you can choose free add-ons like ski racks, car seats, and tire chains. The company says its adding hybrid vehicles to the mix soon.
You won't be charged until after you return the vehicle. There is no mention of a security hold in the Lyft Rentals FAQs. For any incidental charges (fuel, tolls, citations, cleaning up after pets, etc.) you will be charged in the subsequent days after returning off your vehicle. At final billing, one or two days after the car is returned, Lyft will add fuel fees and charge the final amount to the card you provided at time of reservation.
Any other additional charges that roll in (e.g. tolls, tickets and other violations) can be charged up to four weeks after your reservation plus up to $50 as a processing fee for these violations. So, if you get a parking ticket or moving violation, it's wise to pay it yourself as soon as possible.
At this time drivers may not use the Lyft Rentals vehicles for rideshare. (That's possible through another program.)