Tampa Airport concludes carpool agreement, allowing rental between individuals

Carpools just got a little easier at Tampa International Airport.

Hillsborough County Aviation Authority on Thursday approved updated rules for peer-to-peer car-sharing apps and services that connect car owners and renters, like an automotive version of Airbnb. He also approved a formal concession agreement with one of these services, Turo, with which he fought a long legal battle over licenses and royalties.

Agreement follows Florida legislature recent adoption of a bill establishing tax, surcharge and insurance rules for the peer-to-peer carsharing industry, and comes after a more than two-year legal battle between the Aviation Authority and Turo.

“This is a big step forward in ensuring that Turo and all other peer-to-peer carsharing companies do business here in a legal and responsible manner, which we expect from all companies that operate from TPA. “said Michael Stephens, general manager of the airport. lawyer, said in an emailed statement. “This state-of-the-art agreement will support the maintenance and safe operation of our facilities, while providing more choice and convenience to our customers, all of which are key priorities for our airport. “

The authority sued Turo for the first time in 2019, saying the company was promoting a fleet of nearly 200 vehicles available for delivery to the airport – even though, unlike rental companies, it didn’t had no license to do business there.

Related: Tampa Airport to Consider Policy on Turo’s Airbnb-Style Car Rental Business Model

The airport argued that Turo was causing traffic backups and not paying a fair share for the use of its facilities. Turo argued that this is not a rental company, but a service that connects owners and renters of individual cars, so it shouldn’t be held to the same standards as Avis or Enterprise, which operate on airport property.

Peer-to-peer services work much like Airbnb, in that hosts and car renters log in through an app or online, and then arrange a pickup or delivery location. Hosts have damage protection, roadside assistance, and liability insurance up to $ 750,000 (renters themselves must meet certain auto insurance scores and can purchase protection plans. additional). Services earn money by charging a fee equivalent to a percentage of the overall cost; it varies depending on factors such as insurance, location, type of car and the age of the driver.

The case went to Hillsborough Circuit Court and then transferred to U.S. District Court for the Central District of Florida, where, after two years, the two sides agreed to settle in February.

Among the stipulations: Turo must pay the airport 6.5% of its gross revenues to do business there, and must rent five spaces at the top of an economy parking garage at a cost of $ 1,520.83 per month. Turo must organize pickups and deliveries in a designated area; cars should not go around in circles while waiting; and the company must not advertise on airport properties. Vehicles must be “clean and tidy in appearance, and safe to use” and “subject to inspection at all times by Authority (aviation) personnel or law enforcement officials “.

Turo chairman Alex Benn signed the deal electronically in late April.

In an emailed statement, Lou Bertuca, Turo’s head of government relations, called the deal “a major breakthrough for the way airports regulate car sharing between individuals, rightly distinguishing companies like Turo from traditional car rental companies.

“This is a huge win for consumers looking for choice and citizens of the greater Tampa Bay area who want to share their cars for extra cash,” said Bertuca. He called the Florida accord and bill “huge wins for the peer-to-peer carsharing industry in the state.” We anticipate the permit will have an even greater national impact, setting a precedent for other airports to follow. “

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