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Business Travelers Prefer Uber Over Rental Cars—Do Planners?

Change is afoot for transportation around destinations like Southwest Florida. Are cities like Tampa still planning too much for the old rental car model, and not for a future of transportation network companies, carsharing, and self-driving cars?
April 30, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Robert Trigaux wonders if efforts to build a "a big rental car facility at the next-generation Tampa International Airport," reflects a planning focus that looks back rather than forward. The problem, according to Trigaux, is a growing body of evidence that U.S. business travelers are choosing to travel with the help of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft rather than rental cars.

The study, by travel- and expense-management software provider Certify, finds that "Uber accounted for 43 percent of ground transportation transactions, while rental cars had 40 percent. Led by Uber and Lyft, ride-hailing services surpassed rental cars for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2015 and have since widened their lead."

The trend threatens to impact Southwest Florida beyond the plans to build a large rental car facility near the Tampa International Airport. The rental car company Hertz relocated to Florida from New Jersey in 2013, bringing hopes of expansion and thousands of new jobs with it. Now, however, Hertz "has issued recent earnings warnings and its stock, just under $30 a share in mid 2014, closed Thursday at just over $9 a share."

 Trigaux also notes that Zipcar will soon launch its membership-based car-sharing service in Downtown Tampa. As reported in January 2013, Zipcar will be included in the footprint of the new airport rental car facility

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Published on Thursday, April 21, 2016 in Tampa Bay Times
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