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Lyft and Hertz are expanding a deal to offer rental cars to drivers

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Rental car giant Hertz announced this morning that it's rolling out a partnership with Lyft nationally that will supply Lyft drivers with vehicles that are "rotating out of [the] consumer rental fleet." The deal is an expansion of a pilot program started last year in Las Vegas; it's now in Denver as well and will be coming to Los Angeles and San Francisco soon, with more markets to follow.

Both Lyft and larger rival Uber have been experimenting with rental fleets in recent months, looking for ways to get more drivers on the road who wouldn't otherwise have access to a clean vehicle that's appropriate for ride-hail duty. But it can be a challenge for drivers to make a living: rental cars are almost always more expensive than leases, and margins for drivers in some markets are already notoriously thin.

Lyft's deal with Hertz offers drivers special rates and dedicated service centers, and the vehicles can be used for personal use in addition to picking up fares.

Though Lyft has been getting cozy with GM thanks in large part to a $500 million investment, the Hertz deal is unrelated. Separately, GM is piloting a program called "Express Drive" in Chicago that offers Lyft drivers a free rental on a Chevy Equinox crossover as long as they drive 65 fares per week.