Enterprise Holdings and Uber Technologies have reached an agreement under which Uber's Denver drivers can rent Enterprise cars at what the companies said was a discounted rate and have rental fees deducted from their Uber earnings. The pilot program marks a collaboration between the largest U.S. car-rental company and the biggest player in the rapidly growing peer-to-peer ride-hailing sector.
The Enterprise/Uber Partner Program allows Uber's drivers to rent Enterprise's intermediate-sized vehicles, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla, for seven to 28 days at a rate of $210 per week plus taxes and fees. Enterprise processes the rental charges through Uber's payment system by deducting the charges from the Uber driver's weekly earnings.
Drivers are required to make a $500 refundable deposit, pay a $40 Quick Start fee and show proof of being an Uber driver. The drivers get an allowance of about 90 miles a day and will be charged 25 cents a mile for overages, according to the Enterprise/Uber Partner Program Web page.
In addition to covering vehicle maintenance, Enterprise provides insurance that covers vehicle damage above $1,000 for each accident, although only when the Uber app is turned off or the car is without an Uber rider.
As of this week, the $210 weekly rate was higher than the mid-December rates being offered to the public at Denver-area Enterprise outlets. Toyota Corollas were being priced at about $110 a week as of last week, according to Enterprise's website. Neither representatives from Enterprise nor Uber responded to a request from Travel Weekly to explain the higher rate for partner drivers.
Closely held Enterprise appears to be hoping to generate more in-town car-rental demand from the new agreement. The company accounted for almost half of the $26.1 billion U.S. car-rental market last year, according to Auto Rental News. It operates a fleet of more than 1 million light-duty vehicles in the U.S., more than Hertz and Avis Budget Group combined.
Uber, which is also privately held, does not disclose annual revenue. However, Reuters, citing figures from Chinese bankers who had been solicited as potential Uber investors, said San Francisco-based Uber is expected to almost triple its revenue, to $10.8 billion this year, and double it in 2016, to more than $26 billion.
Uber is currently attempting to generate a $2.1 billion funding round that would value the company at $62.5 billion, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the process.
The rapid growth of Uber and smaller competitor Lyft has produced opposition from many within the traditional travel-service industries and has generated controversy as both worldwide municipal officials and taxi lobbyists have alleged that Uber drivers are not held to the same regulatory or insurance standards as taxi drivers.
Still, ride-hailing services like Uber have reached some partnership agreements with some traditional players in the travel industry. This summer, it inked an agreement with Hilton Worldwide that enables guests to send push notifications or texts with their hotel's address already preset for Uber drivers. And closely held Lyft this September reached a co-marketing agreement with the San Francisco Travel Association.
Currently, Denver is the only city where Uber drivers could join the Enterprise program, though more cities will be added "soon," according to Enterprise.