Uber has launched what it claims is a world-first in Australia, offering car rentals through its popular ridesharing app.
The company will this week allow its Brisbane users to rent vehicles in a new trial, which is set to reach the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, but for only 50 per cent of users.
“While many Australians will drive to a wine region, down the coast or explore the mountains in their own car, not everyone has access to their own private vehicle,” Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager Dom Taylor said.
“At Uber, we believe you should always be able to get around, even if you don’t own your own car, and Uber Rent is one more way of helping people do just that.”
Uber’s new rental functionality has been built through a partnership with search engineer CarTrawler.
To check if you – or your clients – have access to the ‘rent’ option, begin by first updating your Uber app to the latest version to see if it’s available.
If it is, select ‘Rentals’ and you’ll see Cartrawler’s search engine to enter your pickup location and rental date. You can then select and book the car that suits you best and begin your journey.
Users will also receive 10 per cent of their purchase back in ‘Uber Credit’ to use on Uber rides and orders with Uber Eats.
It comes as Australia’s domestic border restrictions begin to ease, with New South Wales opening the state to travellers across the country on Monday.
Western Australia and Queensland, which both maintain controversial border closures, have also flagged eased intrastate travel restrictions beginning in June, moves lauded by their states’ respective tourism organisations.
Moreover, caravan parks and campgrounds in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges are now welcoming travellers from across the state.
“This year, the Aussie love of travel has faced pretty tough opposition,” Taylor said.
“Instead of hopping on a plane or heading to the coast, we’ve been staying at home, helping keep everyone safe.
“But now, as state travel restrictions ease, we know Aussies are excited to get moving again. And we’ve heard the calls from our domestic tourism sector that it needs a helping hand to get back on its feet.”
The news comes as the travel industry prepares for a “surge” in demand for short breaks and road trips, with the chief executive of one of Australia’s leading caravan and camping apps reporting a big uptick in on-the-road traveller interest.
Featured image: iStock/moisseyev