Cheap rental cars are being made available to essential workers to fill the gap left by public transport amid the coronavirus crisis.
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Rental car company Europcar will offer discounts of up to 55 per cent on vehicles hired by healthcare and essential industry workers in Australia during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The news follows an announcement by Hertz in the US that 19 of its New York City locations will offer free hire cars to healthcare workers until at least April 20, 2020.

CarAdvice understands Hertz Australia is also expected to make an announcement regarding rental cars for essential workers.

COVID-19 has been found to be highly-contagious in confined spaces and during interactions lasting more than 15 minutes.

This has made public transport a high risk for infections – and made private vehicles a safer form of mobility for healthcare and essential service workers.

Europcar will launch its ‘Together’ program from noon tomorrow, April 2, 2020. The program will run Australia-wide at selected Europcar locations, providing healthcare personnel and other essential service workers access to short, medium and long term rental vehicles at reduced cost.

While the discount is not a fixed value, CarAdvice has been told it will vary based on demand and stock of particular models at different locations.

For example – at time of publication – a Mitsubishi ASX compact SUV rented in Sydney for 10 days would cost approximately $370, however an essential services worker would pay only $240 for the same vehicle and length of time.

A Kia Rio hatchback hired in Melbourne for 14 days at a retail cost of $440 would be reduced to $240 for an essential services worker.

These prices represent a 35-55 per cent discount for essential service workers in these two instances.

Europcar will also provide light commercial vehicles with its own staff as drivers to food retail, logistics and delivery industries to help meet their increased demand.

“We are convinced that it is only by working together that we will be able to provide responses that are adapted to the circumstances and in the general interest,” Europcar chairwoman Caroline Parot said regarding the scheme.

Further to discounted rates and special arrangements, Europcar also assures that all vehicles in their fleet will undergo a thorough disinfection process after each rental.

CarAdvice understands Thrifty Australia, while having not announced plans yet, is also looking into and interested in the idea of offering free or discounted hire cars to healthcare and essential industry workers amid COVID-19.

CarAdvice has also reached out to Avis Budget and Bayswater rentals and is awaiting reply.