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posted on March 16th, 2019

Caving into pressure from Enterprise Rent-A-Car

We were disappointed to discover this week that Tampa International Airport (TPA) has filed a lawsuit against Turo, caving in to pressure from Enterprise Rent-A-Car to stifle consumer choice and economic empowerment for Floridians. At a time when Americans are struggling more than ever with the costs of owning a car, it is sad to see TPA stand in the way of innovation and consumer choice.

Turo is not a rental car company

We have said this countless times before — Turo and our host community are not the same thing as a multi-billion dollar rental car company. Turo neither owns a fleet of cars, nor do we use airport infrastructure (parking lots, shuttles, etc.) to support our community’s operations, which are the primary reasons behind the rental car fee structure. We are an online marketplace that empowers people to help make ends meet by sharing their cars with other folks who need a car. Peer-to-peer car sharing is a distinct industry from the rental car industry, and should thus be permitted distinctly and separately from car rental. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of Floridians who share their cars with neighbors and travelers share two or fewer cars.

Over the last year, Turo made an earnest attempt to work with TPA officials in a formal procurement process to devise a permitting regime that recognizes the unique aspects of peer-to-peer car sharing. TPA ultimately created a procurement process for peer-to-peer car sharing, explicitly acknowledging that our industry is distinct from rental car. In a complete about-face, TPA now shockingly claims that Turo is a rental car company. They’ve decided to impose the same exorbitant fees on our hosts, everyday Floridians looking to offset the high cost of car ownership, as the multi-billion dollar rental car industry. If they truly thought Turo hosts were the same as the Enterprises of the world, why would they have created a procurement process for peer-to-peer car sharing in the first place?   

Tampa International Airport claims to be at the forefront of innovation, yet, caving to pressure from Enterprise with this abrupt about-face, is in fact defying innovation and limiting consumer choice. Our offer still stands to negotiate an appropriate permit with Tampa International Airport, but a negotiation has to have a two-way give and take.

This lawsuit represents yet another example of the undue economic influence that the monopolistic rental car industry wields, as they continue to attempt to kill off peer-to-peer car sharing. Rather than innovate and provide a better experience for their customers, they are reaching into their deep pockets to squelch competition and actually eliminate economic empowerment opportunities for consumers.

We won’t back down

On behalf of our entire community, we are going to fight Tampa International Airport’s improper attempt to characterize the individual Florida citizens engaged in peer-to-peer car sharing as a rental car company. The multi-billion dollar rental car industry — who already save billions of dollars in tax loopholes each year — don’t deserve the unfair economic advantages, especially at the expense of everyday citizens who are already paying more than their fair share.

Michelle is VP, Head of Government Relations at Turo. When she’s not advocating for a favorable regulatory environment for Turo, you might find her with her husband and two children at the SAP Arena cheering on their favorite neighborhood hockey team, the San Jose Sharks.