Car-sharing service Turo builds slowly, nears 50 cars in metro area

Posted by on May 2nd, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Turo’s website lists just under 50 cars for rental.

If you own a car but don’t use it much, or if you don’t own a car but want one occasionally, your options keep getting better.

First came CarSharing Portland (the company that reintroduced car-sharing to the country in 1998) and its corporate successors Flexcar and Zipcar. Later came car2go, which was like Zipcar but you could return it anywhere inside the service area. And Getaround, which let people make money by essentially turning their personal car into a Zipcar.

Now, Turo is making a bid to increase its usage in the Portland area. The company essentially lets people turn their personal car into a Hertz: it’s like Getaround but it’s optimized for car rentals that last one or more days at a time.

“They are very much focused on the short duration instant mobility whereas we are long duration and travel oriented rentals,” Turo spokeswoman Alessandra Maahs wrote in an email, summarizing the differences between Getaround and Turo.

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Turo was known as RelayRides when it launched in 2009 around the same time as Getaround. Rather than focusing on a few cities like Portland, Turo pursued a strategy of building more slowly in many cities. Now they’re up to almost 50 cars across the Portland metro area, to judge from their current website listings.

(Getaround currently lists 84, but unlike Turo they’re all concentrated in the area between the West Hills and Interstate 205.)

One interesting twist to Turo that started recently: Turo renters can pay extra to get personal pickup from any location within the area, such as Portland International Airport. So if you own a car and are also willing to drive it to someone who rents it, you can get paid for the time it takes to deliver it. (Expect to find your own trip home afterward.)

Another airport-related service: Turo customers taking out-of-town plan trips of two weeks or more can leave cars at the airport for free on the condition that they make them available for rental.

Maahs said Portland is currently in the “top 20” cities for Turo rentals. Though this service won’t revolutionize Portland transportation, it looks like one more piece of an ever-growing marketplace of services that are making low-car life in Portland more convenient.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org.

Disclosure: My wife Mo rents out her car using Getaround.

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10 Comments
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    Allan May 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve really been suprised with Getaround’s amazingly slow growth. Hopefully something will make this go mainstream

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    Craig Gifen May 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Hopefully they won’t do what car2go does and stop the eastern edge of their universe at 62nd.

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) May 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Our experience adding our car on Getaround has been .. inconsistent. In many ways. Sometimes we’ll have three rents in a week, sometimes we’ll go weeks between renting. And the GPS+electronics package means the battery goes dead in less than a week, so we have to leave it on a charger.

    Better than nothing, but doesn’t come close to the $4000/year guarantee (which will be hard to qualify for, for various reasons).

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      Carrie May 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Same thing for us Ted (as Turo car owners). Last summer the car was rented nearly every week that we weren’t using it. But since about October we’re lucky if it gets rented once every 6 weeks or so. We’re definitely not make the amount of money advertised, though it is nice supplimental income.

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    RH May 2, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I don’t get it. I just checked online and Expedia was 1/2 the cost of Turo for a comparable car and duration (one week) . Expedia had unlimited miles too. Does Turo include insurance?

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    dan May 3, 2016 at 3:05 am

    Can you buy a $2k junker and rent it on Turo?

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      Tyler Texas May 3, 2016 at 8:04 am

      That would be about the only type I’d rent to someone I didn’t know. 🙂

      You could just put a “for rent” sign in the window with your contact info too. Maybe advertise on craigslist, etc.

      If I want to rent a car, I go to Hertz, Enterprise, etc.

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    Jake May 3, 2016 at 8:26 am

    You can get a car from enterprise for $35 a day – like RH said, the prices on Turo are typically double.

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    Tyler Texas May 3, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    How much of an increase in insurance premiums do you have for allowing unknown people to drive your car? I’d think it would be significant. Would not want to hide it from your insurance provider or else they might not pay.

    How much for driving your own car for hire thru something like Uber?

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    John Adkison May 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I had a bad experience with Turo when the name was still RelayRides. My vehicle was wrecked by a renter and while they paid to repair the vehicle, they did not cover the diminished market value (your car is worth less after it has been in a serious accident). I took the case to a small claims court and won a judgement, but they haven’t paid it and it has been nearly a year since I got the judgement.

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