Travel: Rent a Chauffer With Your Car

Here's a new accessory for rental cars: a driver. Avis Rent A Car is offering chauffeurs to its customers in 10 top business markets, including New York, L.A., Chicago, Washington, Detroit and the Bay Area.

A driver costs about $35 an hour, with a minimum of three hours. WeDriveU, a San Mateo, Calif., firm, provides the drivers. Time-pressed business customers like the new service because drivers can pick up the car and collect renters at baggage claim, says WeDriveU CEO Dennis Carlson.

And it's still cheaper than hiring a limo service. One customer, for example, recently rented a car and driver at New York's La Guardia Airport for a day of meetings. He spent $280 for the driver and $120 for the car, compared with $640 for a car-for-hire. At the end of the trip, the driver drove him back to the airport and returned the car. Booking the driver is done separately from the car rental, through an additional phone call. WeDriveU provides extra insurance to cover its drivers.

Some customers prefer the informality of a rental car and driver to a more showy chauffeur-driven black Town Car, says Avis spokesman John Barrows. For $10.95 a day, they can rent a Wi-Fi connection and work in the car while being toted around town. Sure beats typing and driving at the same time.

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