By Tina Bellon

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc on Wednesday announced the launch of new features in its app to allow U.S. customers to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments and reserve rental cars.

Customers could book an appointment at a Walgreens pharmacy to receive a vaccine and book an Uber ride to get there, the company said in a product presentation.

The feature, which extends an Uber and Walgreens partnership announced in February, reflects the greater availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, where every state has opened up vaccines to all adults.

For Uber, more vaccinations mean a faster return to pre-pandemic travel and higher incomes, which plummeted during the pandemic. The number of trips has already increased. March was the best month since the full force of the pandemic was felt.

The company also announced partnerships with Avis Budget Group Inc, Hertz and other car rental agencies.

Starting Wednesday, U.S. customers can book rental cars through the Uber app, with Uber offering up to 10% of the rental cost as a user credit to spend on other Uber services.

In May, Washington DC users can have their rental car delivered and collected from their homes, after paying a fee to Uber, which will roll out the service nationwide this year.

Uber’s smaller rival, Lyft Inc, already offers car rental in partnership with Sixt SE.

Uber also said it would expand the ability to book rides in advance to more U.S. and European cities and allow customers to book and pick up food delivery orders while driving.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas; Editing by Edmund Blair)


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