Uber Technologies has entered the auto rental business in the United Kingdom, attributing the move to the desire to maximize social distancing.
The technology company has entered a partnership with car rental provider CarTrawler, The Verge reported.
Uber already has partnerships with CarTrawler in France and Australia.
In a post on its corporate blog, Uber described a simple process for using Uber to rent a car Down Under: “Update your Uber app to the latest version to see if you have the Uber Rent option. Select ‘Rentals’ and you’ll see our partner Cartrawler’s search engine to enter your pickup location and rental date. Select and book the car that suits you best and off you go!”
Uber also rents bicycles and scooters in the United Kingdom.
The Verge noted this is not exactly a first for Uber: “Back in 2018, it announced a similar scheme in partnership with Getaround in the US, but discontinued the consumer-focused part of the program later that year in favor of focusing on offering rental cars solely for its drivers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic could give the idea a new lease of life.”
The company’s core business has taken a pounding during the COVID-19 pandemic and the company has branched into new businesses that have thrived during the pandemic. The purchases included delivery service Postmates.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in early August that he saw a “huge market” in delivery.
Helping customers get rental cars is one of several Uber initiatives billed by the company as ways to protect the health of passengers and drivers.
Recently, Uber unveiled software to ensure drivers and passengers wear face masks.
Uber also shares certain data about passengers and drivers with government health officials trying to trace exposure to the coronavirus.