Getaround to expand Uber partnership to four more cities

Getaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing service that first launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in 2011, is expanding a partnership with Uber that gives users access to rideshare-ready vehicles.

The program, which launched as a pilot in May 2017 in San Francisco, is now available to Getaround customers in Los Angeles and San Diego. Two more cities, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., will soon follow, Getaround co-founder and CEO Sam Zaid told TechCrunch.

Getaround’s car-sharing platform is designed to let people instantly rent and drive cars owned by their peers. Under this expanding partnership with Uber, people can now rent some of those vehicles by the hour to drive for the ride-hailing app.

This partnership shouldn’t be confused with Uber Rent, a car rental program launched in April 2018 that shut down last month.

“It really opens up a world of possibilities for people who might want to drive for Uber on a part-time basis but who don’t really need or want to own a car,” Zaid said. “If you’re a grad student who wants to do this one or two days a week, for example, this allows for you to make that happen.”

Still, Zaid noted, this isn’t for every car owner, or even car, on the Getaround platform. The pilot in San Francisco, which is continuing, attracts business-minded car owners who are thinking about maximizing their revenue opportunity. And Zaid expects a similar trend in the new cities.

Getaround cars used by Uber drivers travel about 50 percent more miles than other vehicles on the platform. However, the revenue potential is higher for owners who allow their vehicles to be used for rideshare, he noted.

The program in San Francisco initially was limited to a select group. During the pilot, Getaround received feedback and made some changes to the product experience. All of the expansion of the program has been in the past six months. Over that time frame, the supply of vehicles on the Getaround platform that can be used for rideshare has grown six to eight times, Zaid said. The number of drivers using the cars for Uber has also doubled each month, he added.

To kick off the expanded program, Getaround made the first booking day free for up to 12 consecutive hours. After that, drivers pay a $5 per hour flat rate for use of the vehicle. There are no upfront fees, commitments or subscriptions, and no limit to the booking duration.

Cars are also equipped with standard additions typically found in ridesharing cars, such as Uber decals, phone mounts and phone chargers. Insurance is also included on every trip, and Uber’s 24/7 customer support is available directly through the Uber Driver app.

Once a person successfully clears Uber’s screening process and uploads their driver’s license, they can view, select and unlock a car directly through Getaround.

The partnership is possible because all cars on the Getaround platform are equipped with an integrated hardware and software solution that it calls Getaround Connect, a device that allows users to instantly book and unlock the car through the app without having to physically exchange keys between owner and renter.

Earlier this year, Getaround raised a $300 Series D round led by SoftBank, with participation from Toyota Motor Corporation and others.