The choice is getting simpler by the day for many travelers — deal with the arduous, often unpredictable and hidden fee-ridden rental car process or push a few buttons for an Uber or Lyft ride.
While still not always an option for travelers to rural areas or regions where ridesharing companies have come under heat (looking at you, Taiwan), Uber, Lyft and others could be on track to become the preferred transport option for many.
The legacy industry is feeling the heat. Rental car company Hertz, for example, has seen shares dropping regularly since the summer of 2015. Hertz shares fell another 23 percent in early November, wrote Bloomberg, after a low third-quarter profit. Now, both Uber and Lyft allow users to schedule rides in advance, making it easier than ever for travelers to cut ties with the ways of car rental’s past.
While some rental car companies have struggled to keep up, Silvercar, a relatively new player in the rental car scene, has worked to embrace a mobile platform and alternative pricing methods to keep travel and rental customers from converting to the side of ridesharing.
Its mobile app is free, available for iOS and Android, and customers can book their rentals on their phones — a step up from waiting in line — and receive receipts in their email. The mobile app also unlocks a customer’s Silvercar rental, always an Audi A4.
The Silvercar service is $39 a day for new users and around $65 per day for returning users, factoring in the cost of gas and a $5 fill-up fee. Still, when it’s all added up, the cost of renting a Silvercar is far less than many options currently offered by industry competitors.
It allows the flexibility that having your own car provides, as well as access to a greater radius of travel (think the cost of grabbing an Uber from the airport to grandmother’s house, 40 miles away, for the holidays).
Consumers are always looking for convenience — increasingly in digital forms — and cost to determine what services to use. For now, Silvercar seems like the one viable rental solution in a space increasingly dominated by ridesharing offerings.