Date
19 October 2017
More rental cars are remaining on the lot as US business travelers opt for ride-hailing services like Uber. Photo: internet
More rental cars are remaining on the lot as US business travelers opt for ride-hailing services like Uber. Photo: internet

Uber overtakes rental cars among US business travelers

It’s not just taxis that are suffering from the enormous success of Uber Technologies Inc.

The ride-hailing startup is now getting more business from professionals in the United States than rental car firms, figures from Certify, the second-largest provider of travel and expense management software in North America, show.

Uber accounted for 43 percent of ground transport transactions expensed through Certify last quarter, while rental cars had 40 percent, Bloomberg reported.

Ride-hailing services, with Uber at the forefront, overtook rental cars for the first time in last year’s fourth quarter and have since widened their lead, a study by Certify published Thursday said.

While an Uber or Lyft Inc. fare costs much less than the average rental car booking, the numbers show the changing preferences among business travelers.

Rental car transactions have fallen 15 percentage points in two years.

The decline isn’t quite as steep as the one experienced by taxis, which fell 23 percentage points over the same period.

Taxis accounted for 14 percent of ground transport transactions in this year’s first quarter.

“It really comes down to convenience,” Robert Neveu, president of Certify, said.

“The ability to hail and pay efficiently — that convenience factor is huge, and we’re seeing it change the habits and behaviors of our users.”

Many travelers, who previously would have rented a car for convenience even when they didn’t expect to drive much, are choosing Uber for those shorter trips, Hamzah Mazari, an analyst at Sterne Agee, was quoted as saying.

Investors are concerned, he said.

Share prices of Avis Budget Group Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. have fallen at least 36 percent this year.

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