Aiming to expand the number of drivers who have been shut out because they don’t own a suitable car, Lyft and strategic partner General Motors announced on Monday (July 11) that they are opening their Express Drive short-term vehicle access program to California and Colorado. Under the program, which is already available in Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Lyft drivers who don’t have qualifying cars can access Lyft’s fleet of electric vehicles, including the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV and the extended-range electric 2016 Chevrolet Volt, to become Lyft drivers.
“Expanding Express Drive provides opportunities to hundreds of thousands of new potential Lyft drivers and continues to make car ownership optional for both drivers and passengers,” said John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and cofounder. “We are also excited to be adding electric vehicles to Express Drive, which is an important milestone for Lyft and the industry.”
According to the companies, since March, when Lyft started providing drivers with access to its fleet of vehicles, 30 percent of new Lyft driver applicants in Chicago requested an Express Drive vehicle, while the program in Boston was fully subscribed in less than four days. Meanwhile, the companies said Lyft drivers that are part of the program have earned close to $2 million since the program started.
Lyft drivers in San Francisco will be able to access the Express Drive fleet this summer. It will be available in Denver and Los Angeles by the fall. The companies noted 130,000 people who applied to be Lyft drivers weren’t approved because of their vehicle.
With the Express Drive program, people who want to be drivers but didn’t have the right vehicle or one at all are now able to drive for the startup. While car rental companies are the largest buyers of cars and trucks, car-sharing services are growing in popularity and could move to purchase more vehicles in the years to come. Earlier in the year, GM made a $500 million strategic investment in Lyft, and this program is one of the features to come out of it. Both are also working on self-driving cars. Competitor Uber has a similar agreement with car rental company Enterprise.