QOTD: Would You Turo, on Either Side?

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
qotd would you turo on either side

I learned something today that made me almost physically ill: Have you ever flown in or out of SFO, the wacky San Francisco Airport with its wacky fake TSA that takes bribes to let cocaine come through the screening process? Did you rent a car? And did you take that crappy-ass AirTrain that basically goes all around the Bay Area before dropping you off at the rental car facility approximately 42 minutes after you got on the thing?

Did you know that SFO charges eighteen dollars a ride for the AirTrain? They aren’t charging you; they are charging the rental companies, who pay eighteen bucks per contract for an “AirTrain fee” in addition to an amazing amount of other surcharges. No wonder it’s such a nightmare getting a car at SFO.

Of course, you don’t have to rent a car. You could take an Uber, or you could “rent” through Turo. The mandarins of San Francisco don’t like that, so they are taking Turo to court. That in and of itself is pretty much enough incentive for me to use Turo the next time I fly there. Whatever the Government of San Francisco is for, I’m probably against.

How about you? Would you Turo? And would you rent your own car through Turo?

Our own Bark M did a Turo rental a while back and proclaimed himself to be eminently satisfied. But I wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze on the owners’ side. And I wonder if anybody’s cracked the code to making money with Turo on a car that they didn’t already own, the way the Prius C has become a deliberate Uber purchase lately.

Let me know your thoughts, opinions, and AirTrain-related complaints in the space provided below.

[Image capture: Turo.com]

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6 of 85 comments
  • Baggins Baggins on Jan 26, 2018

    I used Turo when I was buying a car in early 2017. I am pretty particular about seat fit, headroom and visibility (6'4" with long torso). SO a full day test ride fit the bill. I tried a BMW X1 from a 30ish woman who lived in SF. Getting up there was not too bad, as I picked up on a SAT AM. Drove it about 100 miles around the bayarea and returned the next day. Decided it was a pretty nifty little SUV, and had GREAT headroom and forward visibility. But the seats were horrible. Also tried a 2016 e-GOLF. Loved the tidiness of car, the sober german interior and the all electric driving experience. But it was just too small inside. My head brushed the ceiling, and the rear view mirror was too low, right in my line of sight. The seats were better than the X1, but still not good for my back. The TURO experience was fine with both cars - great way to get a real extended test drive. I hink the egolf was about 60 bucks all in to rent and the X1 about 100. IN the end I bought a 2017 Accord Hybrid. Enjoy the spacious and quiet interior, smooth yet controlled ride (dual channel dampers!) and of course the MPG (48mpg in summer, 42 in winter) I also like the general anonymity of it. Looks respectable enough, but draws no attention at all.

  • Ashmueli Ashmueli on Jan 27, 2018

    I tried once. For a weekend vacation near LA, I booked a C-series Benz and paid extra for airport pickup. The guy was super uncommunicative and then cancelled on us in the last minute. We had to rent at the airport. Turo gave us our money back. I would never try Using them again.

  • Oldowl Oldowl on Jan 27, 2018

    I've used Turo (formerly Relay Rides) three times, all with pick up at the Denver airport. Vehicles: an older Jeep Liberty, a year-old Subaru Forester Turbo, and a nearly new Jeep Renegade. All experiences were good to excellent. Vehicles were chosen for 4-wheel drive with the possibility each time of running into the combination of snow or ice at significant altitude. I doubt I could find a conventional rental with such particular vehicles guaranteed. Also, if you are planning to buy a vehicle a Turo rental can provide more experience than an ordinary test drive.

    • See 1 previous
    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jan 27, 2018

      It would be nice if you could use Turo to rent something with winter tires for that situation. I'd take anything with Hakka9s!

  • Trackratmk1 Trackratmk1 on Jan 28, 2018

    I run a small 3 car rental company in the summer time and essentially use Turo for advertising. I had several rentals go out using the platform. They take 35% of every rental unless you prove you’ve got legit commercial/fleet insurance like I do. Then it’s only a 10% cut. At 35%, they do cover your insurance but DO NOT tell your personal auto policy you’re renting out. There have been nightmares about this, including instances where neither Turo nor the individual’s policy paid out, leaving the owner holding the bag. Turo is not worth it renting out a personal new car. Most cities you will not cover the depreciation. It does NOT scale well to expensive fleets. I’ve done the math. If your goal is to offset some costs of owning a fancy car, great, you’ll love it. However between your insurance, storage costs, car payment, depreciation, cleaning, and maintenance you’re rarely breaking even. Factor in the time you need to be available, and the annoyances and stress of having someone taking your car and doing god knows what with it, you realize why most people list their car for a few months then take it off the service.