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Peer-to-Peer Carsharing Companies Facing Challenges

Rental car companies and cities say companies like Turo and Getaround are not following the regulatory rules that should apply to them.
May 23, 2019, 10am PDT | Camille Fink
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Laura Bliss writes that peer-to-peer carsharing companies are facing pushback from rental car companies and cities. Turo and Getaround are two companies that allow vehicle owners to rent cars directly to other users, and technological developments in recent years have greatly facilitated these transactions. "Cars could be made available in more remote and rural settings, with a range of luxury or special-interest models that might not make sense for traditional car rental companies like Hertz or Avis to rent out themselves," notes Bliss.

Critics argue these companies, and people who use the services to run small-scale car rental operations, are not paying the taxes and fees that states and local municipalities get from traditional rental car companies. Cities are taking legal action, and San Francisco, for example, is suing Turo for ignoring airport fees and regulations, says Bliss:

But Turo’s representatives insist that, much as Uber and Lyft hold that they are not taxi companies (or even transportation companies), they’re not a rental car company. They’re just a "platform," according to Michelle Peacock, Turo’s vice president of government relations. "It’s a different way of doing business."

Bliss adds that the traditional rental car industry continues to thrive even with the growth of carsharing competitors. And the future of peer-to-peer carsharing is very much up in the air, with the regulatory uncertainties hanging over it and new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, on the horizon.

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Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 in CityLab
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